UIUC's Human Mascot on YouTube

It's not totally new, but YouTube has a newish feature called "colleges" which organizes content on the site in much the same way that, say, Facebook does. Localized content (Craig's List works this way, too) makes the web seem a bit smaller and local in ways that mimic the geographic local.

I looked at a few of the videos localized through the UIUC link—but watching drunk undergrads streak through the quad just doesn't do it for me.

And I guess I can't say I was too surprised to see that there are several detailed and revealing videos of the UIUC human mascot, the Chief, in action on YouTube.

At a recent all-campus faculty meeting, University of Illinois president Joseph White was asked when (if ever) something is going to be done about the Chief. White stated very clearly that decisions about Chief Illiniwek are in the hands of the trustees, all of whom are accessible via email from this page.

I wonder if I speak for anyone else who would rather not see the Chief continue to represent the U of Illinois when I say that it is not so much the support for the Chief among the trustees that I find disturbing so much as it is much wider Chief-enthusiasm in the community. If I can find the time, I'd like to make a short video documenting this sentiment for our localized hub on YouTube.


  1. I'm just not sure how that trustee support can be separated from the community support, if that makes sense. But yah, the urgent, showy manifestations of the community support always, always surprises me. Can I be in your video?

  2. ...surprises me more than my own disregard for s-v agreement) :)

  3. Trustees = community, no doubt. An attorney, a teacher, an attorney, a CPA, a physician, a couple of politicians, two more attorneys.

    Said another way, it's the scale of the community enthusiasm that registers for me, and that scale transcends the trustees.

  4. When I was in C-U, I worked summers at Lake of the Woods Golf Course to support my habit (of golfing, that is). While it's a place I grew very fond of, in its own way, LOTW is a world away from UIUC. There, it wasn't just ok to "support the chief" (as if he had some rare disease requiring an expensive operation). Rather, the moral rightness of keeping the chief as U of I's "symbol"--"he's not a mascot"--was considered self evident, as if it could be listed alongside our other unalienable rights: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and your own dancing indian.

    That's what was so disturbing to me. Not that people were fashioning reasoned arguments for retaining the chief, but that they didn't even see the need to try--and that they felt put out on those occasions when they were forced to (usually be me).

  5. c. . . .6:10 PM

    lance's comment makes me think that the Ecuadorian (Latin American?) term for a certain type of domestic colonialism cum slavery, "indios propios," may accurately describe the propriatary feeling so many seem to have for Chief Illiniwek. The explanation that 'we' *own* the Chief (It's an Illini thing, you wouldn't understand), not so much in a monetary way, but in a heritage way (he's always been our mascot, what would happen to our tradition?) is very like the tacit system that kept generation after generation of indigenous people (especially women) tied to affluent mestizo families.

  6. We're certainly not in a situation where persuasion seems likely, though I think these videos are meant to persuade. (I say this because of paratext associated with each one.) It seems that the more we talk about the Chief, the more we become convinced of our prior beliefs/position.