Dunne misses with Chief Illiniwek column

By Paul Schmitt

Katie Dunne has a long history as a great advocate for students – I applaud her bravery in expressing her opinion that is in opposition to an overwhelming majority of students on this campus.

However, in yesterday’s piece, “Anti-Chief, Pro-Illinois,” Katie missed her mark by revealing how little she knows of something she is so quick to scorn.

Students for Chief Illiniwek have had an uphill battle in planning and producing, “The Next Dance,” but they are trying to preserve the embodied virtues of the University that nearly 80% of student voters elected to reinstate last semester.

They are providing not only the traditional dance admired by supporters, but also a dialogue on the tradition to better inform the campus community on where this tradition came from, why it lasted for over eighty years and what its future will be.

Judging by Ms. Dunne’s description of the Chief tradition, including the Chief’s ‘shouts of Oskee Wow Wow’ (Chief Illiniwek never speaks), she might benefit from the education that SFCI aims to offer on Saturday.

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Further, I feel it necessary to correct some inaccurate claims regarding the Board of Trustees.

The Board did not “come down on the anti-Chief side.” This claim is misleading and recklessly inaccurate-the Board of Trustees voted to retire Chief Illiniwek citing the NCAA sanctions imposed on UI athletics.

The retirement did not “validate” one side of the argument over another, but rather acknowledged the power of outside forces – there was no “moral” judgment in the Board resolution.

I encourage all students to take it upon themselves to become informed on these topics that are so essential to our campus culture.

Paul D. Schmitt

Student Trustee, Urbana