The continuing dispute over the University of Illinois mascotChief Illiniwek opened a new chapter a few weeks ago when thefaculty-student senate decided to look into why the university pressdeclined to publish a book about Native American mascots.
“Dancing At Halftime: Sports and the Controversy Over AmericanIndian Mascots,” was written by adjunct professor Carol Spindel andpublished by New York University Press earlier this year. TheUniversity of Illinois Press declined to publish the book aftereditors feared backlash from the university administration, theAssociated Press reported.
The senate voted Nov. 27 to ask the University Committee onAcademic Freedom and Tenure to look into why Spindel’s book was notpublished by UI press, senate clerk Bob Damrau said. Retiredengineering professor Harry Hilton sponsored the resolution. Thecommittee’s findings could be reported as soon as the springsemester.
Disputes over the use of Chief Illiniwek date back 10 years, withthe university’s board of trustees historically supporting the schoolmascot. Board chairwoman Susan Gravenhorst appeared in “In WhoseHonor?” — a documentary about the mascot — and defended Illiniwek,saying the mascot conducts himself with such dignity and solemnitythat he should not be considered offensive.
Declining to publish Spindel’s book is not the only time theuniversity snubbed Spindel. In July, Spindel tried to run anadvertisement in the university’s football program that criticizedthe use of Illiniwek but the university refused to the ad. Theuniversity said it does not run advertisements that support or buckthe mascot.