Undeterred by Illinois’ decision to retire Chief Illiniwek in response to NCAA objections, supporters of Illinois’ erstwhile Native-American symbol are planning a rally on Nov. 15 that is expected to include an appearance by the Chief himself, according to published reports. The rally will be held before the Ohio State game. Details are expected to be released by an organization known as Students for Chief Illiniwek, who was retired by the UofI at a Feb. 21, 2007, basketball game. “This will be the first public appearance of the Chief in regalia on campus” since that 2007 basketball game, said Roger Huddleston, president of the Honor the Chief Society, which is not organizing the Nov. 15 event, but is supporting it. A replica of the Chief’s costume, which is in storage at a campus facility, will be used.
As you might expect, university officials seem a little uncomfortable with this Chief revival.
“Students have free-speech rights,” UofI spokeswoman Robin Kaler said. “[But] we don’t have a Chief, and we are not having a Chief event.”