December 3, 2007
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
EQ.08.01 Resolution Concerning Homecoming Displays
Whereas, On March 13, 2007, the Board of Trustees approved a Resolution recognizing that “many who favor the continuation of Chief Illiniwek as the symbol of the University believe that the symbol is an honorable representation of the State’s Native American heritage and virtues they respect,” but also that “many who oppose the continuation of Chief Illiniwek as a symbol of the University, including Native American students, alumni, and Tribes, consider the symbol as disrespectful of their heritage,”;
Whereas, This same Resolution called for the “immediate conclusion to the use of Native American imagery as the symbol of the University of Illinois…along with the related regalia [and] logo,” directing the Chancellor “to manage the final disposition of these matters,”;
Whereas, The Chancellor issued a media advisory notice on October 25, 2007, stating that “the University…considers Homecoming floats, decorations, costumes, and related signage all representations of such personal expression,” thus allowing the use of Chief Illiniwek logos in the parade;
Whereas, Homecoming is an event endorsed by the UIUC Administration, as exemplified in the “Chancellor’s message” on the 2007 Homecoming webpage (http://www.admin.uiuc.edu/homecoming/); and
Whereas, The invocation of the principle of free expression to allow the display of the Chief Illiniwek logo at a campus-endorsed event jeopardizes the authority of the campus Administration to condemn other “representations of personal expression” that are legitimately read as negative stereotyping of members of underrepresented, historically disadvantaged, or marginalized groups within the campus community.
Be it resolved by the UIUC Senate that
The UIUC Administration dissociate itself from future Homecoming displays, and charge the Alumni Association with the exclusive sponsorship and endorsement of these events.
Senate Committee on Equal Opportunity and Inclusion
Belden Fields, Chair