Sunday, February 15, 2004
University of Illinois news
The billboards were put up by an alumni who hates Cantor because she favors getting rid of our University mascot, Chief Illiniwek.
He wouldn't put it that way, of course. As the Honor the Chief website argues at length, Chief Illiniwek isn't a mascot, he's an honored symbol. That's why he puts on a minstrel show at all University sporting events.
Back in November, the Board of Trustees was supposed to vote on whether to give the Chief an 'honorable retirement.' Their meeting was a circus, complete with hundreds of singing Chief supporters, chanting anti-chief activists, bemused police officers, and soon-to-be-frustrated TV crews. The Board, predictably, voted to delay voting on the issue until their March meeting.
Reportedly, Nancy Cantor cried in frustration afterwards. That made me think that she might not be all bad.
In today's local paper it was reported that the Board may now delay the vote again. Their excuse is that Illinois Student Government voted last week to have a student referendum on the issue the week after the Board of Trustees meeting.
Trustee Marjorie Sodermann was quoted as saying, "I think we should know how the students feel. I am glad they are going to have a voice in it."
Two points. First, they don't care how the students feel. If they cared how the students felt they wouldn't have eliminated discussion sections in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and they wouldn't have raised tuition. Second, everybody knows that the students are going to vote to keep the Chief, and by a wide margin.
(Although it's in no way relevant, I'd like to mention that we had a student referendum here last week, and the students voted to disband Illinois Student Government)
The real reason to delay the vote is so that Cantor won't be around to twist arms. Those in favor of keeping the Chief know that they're more likely to lose the vote with her around, so they're trying to wait her out.
It'll probably work.
postscript: I have a suspicion that if I'm bothered by Chief Illiniwek then I should also be bothered by my hometown Kansas City Chiefs. Anybody got an argument that I shouldn't? I do, but it's lame.