Illini AD calls for "respectful and civil dialogue" about Chief

Josh Whitman asking Illini Nation to engage in constructive discussion on matter

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) -- Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman is asking Illini Nation to be open-minded when talking about issues concerning Chief Illiniwek.

It's been two and a half weeks since University of Illinois professor Jay Rosenstein was arrested by campus police for videotaping a former Chief portrayer in a State Farm Center restroom. Rosenstein was released by the state's attorney and faces no criminal charges. He is still on paid administrative leave, awaiting review from the Chancellor's office.

The Chief continues to be a hot topic of debate among Illini Nation. Thousands want the former university symbol back on campus, while others argue it should never be talked about again.

"In today's world that the ability to have a respectful and civil dialogue about issues that are controversial or cause disagreement is increasingly becoming a lost art," Whitman said. "So I'm hopeful that our fans and community can demonstrate that we're capable of doing that and engaging in a constructive discussion and hopefully finding a way forward."

It's been more than a decade since the Chief was officially retired. There is still no update on a mascot for the university, the Chancellor's office is in charge of that effort moving forward.


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