CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The students have spoken.
In a referendum on the student body’s spring 2020 ballots at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a vote to make the ‘Belted Kingfisher’ the official mascot of the University passed 4,222 to 3,597.
The referendum’s explanatory text said the Kingfisher will now be sent to the University Administration, who would still have to decide whether or not to adopt the non-binding referendum.
The Belted Kingfisher would not replace the name ‘Fighting Illini,’ but would be a replacement mascot after the NCAA banned Chief Illiniwek in 2005. Many consider Chief Illiniwek a symbol of the University, rather than a mascot.
The kingfisher logo was designed by a current University of Illinois student.
It would be the first female mascot in the Big Ten and is uniquely orange and blue, according to the explanatory text.