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Push Is On To Pick New Mascot For Illini

By Anna Deem in News on Nov 14, 2010 6:45PM

Chief Illiniwek.
It's been more than three years since the University of Illinois board voted to retire Chief Illiniwek as the Urbana-Champaign campus' mascot. Now, students and faculty are organizing to try and find a proper replacement for the Chief. Recently, the Illinois Faculty Senate and the Illinois Student Senate have both called for the creation of a new mascot and twenty different student groups also picketed outside a non-university sponsored Chief event.

"I think the students and members of the university community believe having a new mascot will help our campus move forward," said David Olsen, the student body president and a senior in the college of business, to the Chicago Sun-Times. Although the Chief does not participate in university events, his presence is still felt around campus, in the paraphernalia that students wear and the "three in one" music that he danced to, which is still played at sporting events. "Students get up and re-enact everything the Chief has done," said Teresa Ramos, a doctoral student in anthropology with Students for a United Illinois, to the Sun-Times. "No one can move on."

Case in point: the Chief loyalists, who recently organized an event called The Next Dance, which attracted 5,000 supporters on homecoming weekend this year. "Our ultimate goal is to somehow bring it back on campus and reinstate it as NCAA-approved and one that is embraced by the university," said Steve Raquel, who was the Chief in 1992 and 1993, to the Sun-Times.