Breitbart reports, “the University of Illinois student government is offering a “buyback” of “racist” merchandise featuring the school’s former mascot, Chief Illiniwek.”
The students want to remove the so-called “outdated and racist imagery from campus.”
“Help remove outdated and racist imagery from campus!” reads a recent Facebook post by the Illinois Student Government. “Exchange your former mascot clothing for brand new, official Illinois merchandise at any of the locations listed above, while supplies last!”
The post goes on to inform students to “reach out to your Multicultural Advocates if you reside in University Housing to perform exchanges of clothing as well! The Illinois Student Government is proud to partner with the Native American and Indigenous Students Organization for this Buyback Event.”
The University of Illinois student government is dedicating $5,250 to host its “t-shirt buyback” event according to a report by Campus Reform.
“[T]he Illinois Student Government takes a firm stance against representations of ‘Chief Illiniwek’ because of the disrespect the symbol conveys upon the Native American community,” reads the resolution.
The school retired the mascot in 2007 after complaints from various Native groups and individuals. In 2017, the school decided to do away with its fan-favorite “War Chant” song at university games.
“I find it deeply disturbing that the University of Illinois has seen fit to label any representation of Native culture, authentic or not, as inherently offensive and worthy of censorship,” said president of the Honor the Chief Society Ivan Dozier — who is of Native American descent — to Campus Reform.
“Other schools like Utah and Florida State work closely with local tribes and honor their imagery and history with pride,” he added. “Why has Illinois not made any effort towards a similar partnership?”
“The University of Illinois certainly sends the message that Native Americans are not wanted nor welcome,” affirmed Dozier. “Perhaps that’s why the school posts a paltry 0.0601% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders, and 0.0539% American Indian or Alaska Native student enrollment.”