It's been nearly a decade since Chief Illiniwek last performed in Champaign. So, obviously, now is the perfect time for the University of Illinois to start searching for
a new their first-ever mascot. Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson relayed her decision to begin the process during an Academic Senate meeting on Monday.
According to the News-Gazette, Wilson plans to form a committee of 10 to 12 people to draw up a process and timeline. That group will include students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members.
Illinois retired Chief Illiniwek, a former "symbol," nine years ago after facing pressure from the NCAA and other activists, who argued it was a racist manipulation of Native American cultures that didn't have any actual historical basis.
Since then, there have been several group efforts of varying effectiveness to replace the brand void left by the chief's removal. Most efforts have been strikingly lackluster, and as fruitless as similar efforts from chief supporters to reinstate him. With university administration taking the lead, however, it seems that the conversation will finally continue.