Restore Chief Illiniwek as official symbol of University of Illinois
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We, the signed below, are the community who support Chief Illiniwek. We are of all races. Of all religions. Of all orientations. Of all political beliefs. Of all genders. Of all economic backgrounds. Of all society levels. Of all educational backgrounds. Of all places in the world. Community member, alumni, fan and student alike. We stand together and ask as one voice that you hear us. We want a fair say in the fate of our beloved and revered symbol that has become the ethos of our great state. Not one of us has ever spoken of this respectful leader in anything less than glowing terms of admiration. No. In fact, we expressed our desire for our (future) children and grandchildren to follow in those ethereal footsteps that graced the football field and the basketball court and commanded such respect and awe from the thousands and sometimes tens of thousands that came to see the game and the grace, power and dignity that was the Fighting Illini half time show. To show strength, honor and hold oneself with quiet pride.
Since the Chief's abrupt removal and especially since the stealing of the War Chant with no notice or vote or negotiations, the University has completely lost its way. Leadership has suffered tremendously. The Chancellor is making arbitrary decisions that are effectively destroying 90 years of history over the imaginary slights of an angsty Student Council as fast as they can churn them out. He promises an open dialogue to the public one week, then is caught on video next giving his opinion at what was supposed to be a policy speech. He allows faculty who are caught admitting to filming students in the bathroom to be reinstated without speaking to any witnesses in the case. I know because I am one, and was never contacted. (I know the other two as well.) When I see something wrong, I say something. And when people don't have a voice, I try to give them one. So I beg you to please listen to us when we ask you to restore our beloved symbol. Our respected and honored Chief Illiniwek. We don't want our children attending a University where we have no say in what happens in the destruction of nearly a century of proud and honorable tradition. Somewhere where they will be thrown out of class and be called a racist for wearing a particular shirt or having a cell phone cover. That's not freedom. We are determined to be heard one way or another. Through petitions or votes or pocketbooks or all three.
Breelyn Fay (Shawnee/Cherokee)
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