Friday, January 20, 2006

Response to George Will

George Will, in his Jan. 5 column, rhetorically asks why the disapproval of a nickname should doom it. Will asks the wrong question. We must ask if it makes sense for a world-class public university use a nickname that so many find offensive. When a mascot’s purpose is suppose to be uniting a campus, does it make sense to retain a mascot so divisive that over 30% of the student body opposes it.

Regardless of your stance on the Chief, no one can deny that the controversy is a huge waste. The university has funded countless diversity studies, which almost all recommend retiring the Chief, and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on wholly unnecessary litigation. We cannot afford to continue wasting time and money on a controversy that will continue to divide and disrupt us.

Mr. Will also overlooks the fact that a staggering majority of Native American students currently enrolled at the University of Illinois oppose the Chief. Sadly, those who voice their criticism are often taunted, threatened, and told, "if you don't like it, go somewhere else." The Board of Trustees has the power to end this sort of treatment if they can summon the political courage to do so.

The ultimate question facing the Board of Trustees must be what course of action is best for the University of Illinois. The time has come for the Board to boldly answer that question, even if the answer is unpopular.

Published in the News Gazettee January 20, 2006

7 Comments:

Blogger Josh Rohrscheib said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Billy Joe Mills said...

If you ever assail George Will again I will personally gnaw your ear off...hahhahah...he's my boy.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Josh Rohrscheib said...

I heard sometimes George Will dresses up like a girl. I'm just telling you so you know he could also be your girl.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Josh Rohrscheib said...

Here's an email I just got in response to this letter:

Hi, Josh.
I hope You and Your Family are well.
I'm writing You this note to thank You for Your level headed words in Your letter to the editor. Whether You are with Us or not, the message that You sent needs to be repeated as often as possible. The fact that You are the Student Body President encourages Me. The Peers that placed You in Your office have chosen wisely.

With a good heart, David Twofeathers
Traditional Lakota

9:28 AM  
Blogger Josh Rohrscheib said...

Here's another:

Dear Mr. Rohrscheib,

Excellent letter in the NG! In the eleven years I've been here, as a
Native student, and
now as a faculty member in American Indian Studies, I know the heat you'll
take
for the letter. I applaud and appreciate your stance.

Debbie Reese

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Reed said...

I don't see the logic. If the problem is the debate itself (debate is bad?), why is the solution to skip that part and anoint a winner? The BOT has accountability to others, a large part of whom support the Chief. To ignore those opinions is to subvert the role of the BOT.

I fail to see the connection between a school mascot and diversity. If there is one, it's tenuous at best. Given that intellectual diversity on this campus is in serious trouble (as it is with other campuses nationwide), I can't see retiring the Chief as a priority in enhancing campus diversity.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Josh Rohrscheib said...

To Reed - thanks for posting. My point is that the debate itself is bad. It's is extremely costly both due to administrative time wasted on the matter, all the nonsense diversity studies we keep funding, and the unnecessary litigation (Crue v. Aiken, the most recent challenge under the IL CRA, etc). I believe the contraversy will end more quickly if the chief is retired than if it is retained.

The university's committee on equal opportunity disagrees with you about the impact of the chief on diversity. Whether or not there are intellectual diversity problems on college campuses, many of our own studies have recommended retiring the mascot to improve diversity on our campus. There's no reason we cant try to tackle both problems at the same time.

3:11 PM  

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