Illinois says no plans for new mascot after Belted Kingfisher passes student vote

In a non-binding resolution, 4,222 students voted to adopt the blue and orange bird, while 3,597 voted against it.

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A mockup of an Illinois logo with the Belted Kingfisher.

Spencer Hulsey/Originally posted on Reddit

The University of Illinois says it has no plans to unveil a new mascot after students voted in a non-binding referendum last week to adopt a blue and orange bird as the official replacement for Chief Illiniwek.

Students at the university in Champaign were polled by the student election commission last week on whether they wanted to adopt a blue and orange Belted Kingfisher, a bird commonly found across North America, as their new mascot. According to results released Monday night, 4,222 voted in favor of the bird, while 3,597 voted against it.

Given that the poll was non-binding, the school does not have to embrace the new mascot at this time. A spokesperson for university chancellor Robert Jones told The News-Gazette that the vote results will be shared university administrators and the board of trustees.

This is a different result from the last push for a new Illinois mascot: When the “Alma Otter” went to a non-binding vote in the spring of 2019, 3,807 students voted against it compared to only 3,510 for the furry mammal.

So the school did take a step closer to its first official mascot since 2007 this week, but there’s still more that needs to happen before a blue and orange bird is running around State Farm Center.

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