‘Chief Or Nothing’ Latest Rallying Cry For Illinois Students

Today’s column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) College traditions aren’t widgets.

You can’t just manufacture them.

Nevertheless, down at my alma mater in Champaign, a student group is again trying to do just that by attempting to replace banished school symbol Chief Illiniwek – and, this time, another group of students is trying to stop them.

Last month, Campus Spirit Revival (CSR), a registered student organization at the University of Illinois, re-ignited passions among Chief loyalists by announcing an online contest to vote for a new school mascot intended to succeed the Illiniwek – even though very few Illini students, alumni or fans have any interest in that happening.

I don’t personally know a single soul who does.

“We don’t need to have a mascot to have school spirit,” Illinois grad student Josh Good told me this past weekend. “Whether you’re pro-Chief or anti-Chief, it’s preposterous to say that Illinois is lacking school spirit. What lack is there?”

Good and fellow Illini alum Bryce Dirks are of the school of thought that if Illinois can’t have Chief Illiniwek as its symbol, then the school is better off with no symbol at all. “Chief or nothing,” was how Good put it, and to that end, he and Dirks have launched an online petition against the election of a new mascot or symbol, which has more than 3,200 signatures.

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