Pro-Chief Students Issue Call for Racism and Violence against American Indians at University of Illinois

Pro-Chief Students Issue Call for Racism and Violence against American Indians at University of Illinois via email As concerned citizens of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and as faculty in the university's American Indian Studies Program and staff at the Native American House, we wish to call attention to a recent incident of university students explicitly advocating racist violence against American Indians in general and against one American Indian student in particular. We call on the university leadership and the university community to express public and unequivocal outrage at this incident. We also call on the university authorities to initiate disciplinary proceedings. Student behavior of this kind directly violates the University Student Code, section 1-302 parts a 2, d 3, f, g, o 4, and o 5. For the Rules of Conduct in the University Student Code, see http://www.admin.uiuc.edu/policy/code/article_1/a1_1-302.html. Student behavior of this kind also violates the university's publicly stated policy on acts of intolerance ( http://www.odos.uiuc.edu/stophate/intro.asp). On Facebook, the popular student-centered social web forum, a University of Illinois student has begun a group called "If They Get Rid of the Chief I'm Becoming a Racist." The group's web site can be viewed at this Facebook address: http://uillinois.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2216973206, though it is likely that Facebook authorities will soon remove the site, because it violates Facebook policies. One hundred and ten University of Illinois students have joined this group. Two students have posted inflammatory messages on the group's web site. These messages are available to any web user who registers with Facebook, which includes most University of Illinois students and many other people across the campus community and across the national and world-wide network of Facebook users. On November 20, 2006, a University of Illinois student posted the following explicitly racist words that call for the death of Indian people, which of course includes the Indian people who are members of the University of Illinois community: "what they don't realize is that there was never a racist problem before..but now i hate redskins and hope all those drunk, casino owning bums die." On December 2, 2006, another student wrote the following explicit threat, a call for violence directed at a specific University of Illinois student: "that's the worst part! apparently the leader of this movement is of Sioux descent. Which means what, you ask? the Sioux indians are the ones that killed off the Illini indians, so she's just trying to finish what her ancestors started. I say we throw a tomohawk into her face." No university can continue to function normally when its students explicitly and publicly threaten and call for violence against other students. Such a call would not be tolerated if it were made against another racial group. No university community or leadership can tolerate such actions. We, the American Indian Studies faculty and Native American House staff of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, call on the university community and leadership to condemn these actions publicly and vociferously.

Another group

Sadly, that gem of a group is no more. But here's a good one:

THE CHIEF IS AN HONORABLE TRADITION NOT A RACIST SYMBOL DurrrrrSPOOOOOOOOOORRRRTS!
!!111 LOL

http://uillinois.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2201183119

The Massmail

To Members of the Campus Community: It was brought to my attention earlier this week that threats of violence against an American Indian student, and hate speech directed at all American Indians, were posted on a pro-Chief Facebook website created by students at the University of Illinois. The idea that the debate over this issue could degenerate to personal attacks that threaten the physical safety and well-being of members of the campus community is something that all of us should find truly abhorrent. The men and women who built the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign over the past 140 years have worked hard to create a place where ideas could be explored and discussed in a safe and welcoming environment. Actions such as those that were recommended on this Facebook site really are an attack on each member of our community, and that site has now been removed. I do not know the motives of the students who posted the threats, but I do know that their words are dangerous and racist. The threats have been forwarded to the Office of Student Conflict Resolution for investigation and action. The Student Code guarantees that members of the campus community should be able to discuss issues and express views, but it does not allow speech that threatens to harm other members of the campus community. As Chancellor, I can not and will not tolerate such violent threats. The University will take all legal and disciplinary actions available in response to the threatening messages. But far less extreme actions and words can traumatize and frighten those targeted, as well. The right of free speech--no matter how thoughtless, rude or dumb--is a hallmark of the American system. Yet as future leaders and as citizens of our campus community and later as citizens of a nation and world, we must engage in a far deeper dialogue about how we are to agree to disagree. Vigorous debate is good and it is constitutionally protected--but debate should be based on ideas, not empty-headed slurs or vicious threats. To all members of the campus community I ask that you think seriously about what you can do to help build a campus climate with zero tolerance for racism and hate. Everyone has a role. We should expect nothing less from ourselves. I invite each of you to join us at 4:00 p.m. February 1, 2007 in Foellinger Auditorium for a forum on creating a more welcoming campus environment. Together, we must find ways to implement our shared values of respect and dignity. Thank you. Richard Herman Chancellor

First Things First

If the goal is to really seek "a campus climate with zero tolerance for racism and hate" the very first thing to do is to retire the "Chief." Period.

You just can't buy class

Screen cap from Facebook...

A Better Title Would Have Been...

If I Start a Facebook Group Called "If They Get Rid of the Chief I'm Becoming a Racist" and You Join, We Already Are Racists >>> I've seen other screen captures of this white supremacist facebook group being passed around. If anyone has access to it, it would be appropriate to publish the complete list of the members of this group. After all, they're loud, proud, and...racist.

Agreed

The group itself is gone, and that was just one of the student's announcements on other pro-Chief Facebook groups. But it was still priceless, even though the irony may have been unintentional.

It's too bad they removed

It's too bad they removed the group, in one way. Many employers look at Facebook profiles when interviewing college graduates.

Can Anyone Explain?

Can anyone explain to me that if the "Chief" is truly held in great respect by his supporters, why no one told Mr. Towal his Facebook group was just a really _DUMB_ idea? Apparently not.

Pro-Chief = Orthodox

Pro-Chief = Orthodox Religion (for bigots)

Amen (pun intended)

I noted this parallel in a letter to the editor a few years ago. If the ubiquitous Chief bumper sticker that reads "The Chief yesterday, today, forever" isn't a religious statement, I don't know what is. Nothing---not even mountains or galaxies---is the same FOREVER; the only exception, for theistically religious people, is God. So are the people whose cars these bumper stickers adorn saying that the Chief is God? That would explain the fanaticism and irrationality surrounding the Chief, at least.

another shot

i found this from http://insidehighered.com/news/2007/01/10/mascot with the editing done by whomever they got it from...

The More We Find Out, The Worse It Is

So, it doesn't sound much like attempted satire when you state "If we're already getting the bad rap for it we might as well fit the description." Maybe they really DID eventually intend to revive a "white pride" club on campus, too? And, since I have no experience with Facebook, what exactly is a "wall post" on Facebook? Is that a like a "sticky" on other forums? If so, it was bad enough when someone posted it originaly, but then Mr. Towal or whoever the admin for it was decided they agreed and wanted others to be sure to see it. This really is getting less "funny" the more we learn, so the anonymous defenders and apologists for these hostile acts are only setting themselves up for a fall. It's not satire. It's not funny. It's not tongue in cheek. It's sick, it clearly violates the student code, and it is at least borderline criminal.

Agreed

Yeah, I agree. The reason I decided to edit my own posts (that included the screencap of the group announcement) was that the guy who started it was apparently a freshman, and it's possible that he was just being dumb. (Also, the names of the people who made the really heinous comments are also blacked out in this image, and they're the biggest offenders).

A Couple More Names

The screenshot that I've seen of the Facebook page just above did not have the names of the vicious commenters blacked out. The guy kicking in the air, who thinks a "tomohawk" in the face for another student is the answer to his anxieties about white privilege (Nov. 7 and Dec. 2 comments), is David Pestell. The other comment, by the guy appearing with the female (Nov. 20), is Dave McMurray.

Another pro-Chief Facebook group

The ever-classy Mr. Pestell is also a member of pro-Chief Facebook group that has a "drunken Indian" officer position.

Cool Is OK -- Racist Is Not

I really don't care what the alternative mascot might be. There's far too much attention paid at the university to sports and not enough to its crumbling institutional architecture But the fact that a significant portion of new pro-"Chief" groups that keep popping up have a racist theme underlying them just reiterates the fact that racism is a fundamental part of "mascotizing" other people. The apologists for institutional racism that offer alternative -- and far less credible -- explanations for this behavioral linkage would most likely tell us that the KKK just likes to dress up in their "cool" costumes and that it reflects no deeper meaning. And I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I can make you a hell of a deal on.

WTF MATE

being a member of a joke group where the creator assigned some other person that officer name has nothing to do with "the ever-classy Mr. Pestell"'s opinions. If you don't think the Illini Dinosaurs is a joke then maybe you simply don't have the mental capacity for humor. By the way, by doing an amount of stalking similar to you, I have found that David is also a member of a group called "Coexist" about tolerance of all religions and walks of life, and has been for some time. If you think that one is racist I'd like to hear your argument. http://uillinois.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2204523560

Could Be...

Mr. Pestell is a hypocrite. Or simply too immature to realize that the implications of things that come out of his mouth or fingertips are contradictory. Sorry, but I strongly disagree that the idea of having a "Drunken Indian" as an officer position is a joke. It's not funny, unless you intend to demean Native Americans. If you are asserting there's any humor value beyond racist stereotyping, then you're either as hypocritical or juvenile as Mr. Pestell. And in my book, being juvenile is no excuse for racist humor, intentional or not. At least not in the last 4 or 5 decades. And it looks to me like you've paid no attention at all to what we are commemorating today -- Martin Luther King's vision of a society where the color of one's skin does not lead to you being targeted for hate or jokes -- or depiction as a mascot dressed up in "redface" who dances for the edification of white people.

uh

i was commenting on the group being clearly for humor. I agree, the drunken indian officer name is stupid, but how much do you think he was involved in creating that officer title?

Don't Know, Doesn't Matter

It's amusing how all these anonymous people pop up to try different tacks on the same theme: "Ah, it's no big deal. Why are you folks so upset?" IMHO, that's just another variant of pernicious racist thought. As the occasional, misplaced comment among numerous other comments that actually try to deal with the significant issues raised by this incident, I could see that as an accident. But, no, the vast majority of commentary made here that purports to defend the actions of these hooligans adopts the logic of underplaying the signficance of their actions. As either an unconscious, but still highly revelatory, demonstration of the fact that support for the "Chief" is closely associated with the wider context of defense of institutions of white privilege or as the organized and deliberate attempt by "Chief" supporters to cover up again the fundamentally racist nature of their "respect" -- it's six of one and six-pack of another. You simply cannot break out of your implicit, and sometimes even explicit, mindset that it is a violation of your rights -- as white person, I guess you feel -- to be able to use the institutions of the state to objectify the culture of a minority. But tell us once again why someone who actually offers any kind of human respect for Native Americans, ostensibly in the form of "respecting" the "Chief", could possibly want to join a group that has "Drunken Indian" clearly indicated as one of it's officers. And, no, it is not the least bit funny. One last chance...maybe you should argue that Mr. Pestell's reading and comprehension skills are somewhat deficient. Then HTH exactly did he get into the UI in the first place? Heck, I am a proud Parkland graduate and most of the people who I attended class with could figure out that there is something problematic about any group associated with the UI having a "Drunken Indian" for an officer. And, no, it's still not funny. The only thing funny is that some folks think making pitiful excuses for the racist behavior of others will help the situation. And by funny I mean extremely odd, even nonsensical -- _not_ humorous.

Don't Know, Doesn't Matter

Anti-chief make similar tacks to the opposite extreme: "This is a highly sensetive topic, therefore this person shall have all credibility removed for speaking on it." "It's not political correctness, it's common decency." "All pro-chief activists are racist, because they like the chief." Realize that this entire argument is a matter of opinion, so neither side has any real facts. So stop pretending it's so clear-cut. So you think that racists are the only ones that make "occasional, misplaced comments among numerous other comments"? You think only a racist might try to see this issue from a different perspective from you? How thoughtful. Maybe people are underplaying the severity of this argument because there is no surety that it IS as severe as you wish it was. As wayward commented earlier, the kids are probably just dumb freshmen who don't realize that what they're saying isn't funny to everyone. What exactly made this issue so severe to you? I am genuinely curious. To me, I see three posts by two people, and no further activity whatsoever. The group creator never even said a word. The words that are quoted so heavily are the only words on the page. And there is no word on plans for organization, nor any realistic kind of violent action on Native Americans. Also, Facebook has NO affiliation with the University whatsoever. So this "institution of the state" seems rather confusing. Also, did you just call me a racist? Why do you put the Chief in quotes? It's pretty clear who he is. I don't think the anti-Chief activists would argue that he is not resembling a chief. Are you referring to some *imaginary* chief? Officer names are in no way clearly indicated. I don't know how knowledgeable you are about Facebook, but it is possible to join a group without seeing the page AT ALL. In other words, you can join solely based on the name. This is very common, I can assure you. Even non-racists join groups based on name, honest. Speaking of the title, way to ignore it. Illini Dinosaurs. At the very least creative. ["The only thing funny is that some folks think making pitiful excuses for the racist behavior of others will help the situation."] And look at all that *you* have done to help! Revealing who you think are racists to the public for labeling, stereotyping, and one-sided arguements! You know, this happened before. It was the Salem Witch Trials. A real problem solver.

Another Day-- Another Apologist for Racist Behavior

You're confusing agruments about racist behavior with accusations of racism; surely, some "Chief" supporters ARE racists, but it's also clear -- if you read carefully -- that most of this discussion is about racist behavior and the fact that "Chief" supporters refuse to take responsibility for such. Persisting in such racist behavior DOES make you a racist, BTW. Thanks for making it clear -- unless you are just confused about the semantic difference between racist behavior, i.e. unintentionally (perhaps) expressing a clearly racist notion, and being a racist, i.e. being clearly motivated by racism through actively claiming it and or defending the clearly racist expressions or views of others. What is being clearly motivated by racism in the context of this discussion? Repeatedly coming back to anonymously defend the racist expressions of others. I would be satisfied with an genuine and heartfelt apology from the Facebook students -- except from those who made the threatening comments or think that their organization needs a "Drunken Indian" as an officer, which constitute clear violations of the student code - presuming that is ever offered. Making excuses for such behavior from those not directly involved about such racist behavior is simply active racism. At least the official pro-"Chief" group went to the trouble to distance themselves from such racist behavior, but I doubt they speak for everyone in their ranks. This incident has shown that not all "Chief" supporters are willing to do that, demonstrating that there most probably remain racists in the ranks of "Chief" supporters, since it is obvious that a least some "Chief" supporters prefer coming here to anonymously defend racist behavior to distancing themselves from it. They still come here trying to twist racist behavior into something that is less than it is -- an expression of a racially-based stereotype and thus by defintion a racist expression. Racist behavior should be called when it is seen, otherwise it encourages those using it to continue on into their own active racism -- presuming that such expressions are NOT already an expression of racism, which sometimes they clearly are. So apologize and retract in a way that makes it clear that you reject racist behavior and racism or -- guess what? -- you just might be a racist. Do I need to dumb it down further for you, anonymous troll? No need to answer unless a sincere apology for your previous impassioned defense of racist behavior is forthcoming. Finally, I think everyone is well aware that Facebook is not affliated with the university -- but that is clearly both a red herring and a logical fallacy on your part. The main point is that the "Chief" IS affliated with the university. Racist mascots have no place at any publicly funded institution in this country. Furthermore, the student code applies to every student, whether they're on campus or not, whenever they engage with another member of the academic community. This is the same whether a student posts a threat against another member of the academic community on Facebook, threatens a member of the faculty, staff, or students at their home from an off-campus phone, etc.

More Names

So people won't have to squint, the names of the six members whose pics are posted in the row of six pics in the middle are, in order from left to right:

9 Down

101 members to go.

Explicit threat?

I take issue with your assessment of the second comment on Facebook. As quoted, the comment appears to be just immature, offensive hyperbole - not an explicit threat. Also, the part of the Student Code you cited has some pretty broad, scary language. Look at part (g) - "Inciting, aiding, or encouraging others to engage in a disruptive or coercive action." Couldn't the University deem any action, demonstration, etc. to be "disruptive or coercive?" This Student Code gives the University free reign - a very bad thing.

Correction

If you downplay specifically calling someone out and suggesting that they should be violently attacked, which is more than explicit enough for most people to take such a threat seriously, then it is you who are engaging in "immature, offensive hyperbole." But you probably could still have gotten a job in the pre-9/11 Bush Whitehouse. After all they didn't take Osama seriously. Maybe they thought he was just engaging in "immature, offensive hyperbole"?

I doubt the person in

I doubt the person in question feared for their life from the original "threat." Do you really think they (or any reasonable person) walked around town, watching out for racists wielding "tomohawks" (sic)? That's what an explict threat elicits. If the original threat had been more realistic or specific (e.g., "I'm going to kill you tomorrow"), I would not argue about it being an "explicit threat."

she was worried.

Apparently the woman in question was worried, because the native community is small enough that she knew that the posters knew exactly who they were talking about. She was concerned enough to do something about it, so that alone says something. I'll say, if it were me, yes, I'd be at the very least unnerved by that level of hate directed at me. Would I be looking for tomahawk throwers? Perhaps not. But that kind of anger can boil out in other forms. Once it was reported, further action was up to the University. I doubt the student had or will have any input whatsoever into proposed punishments or sanctions.

In that case, I'm relieved

In that case, I'm relieved that the University did something about it. I never thought they should ignore this situation - I only took issue with the wording of the original article. It seemed a little too biased.

Awful analogy...

Is this Facebook person a murderer? Do they have a history of throwing "tomohawks" (sic) at political activists, Native Americans, or other humans? If so, your Osama analogy is accurate. Otherwise, it's as much hyperbole as the comment in question.

Looks a Lot Like McVeigh

Don't know if that dude has killed anyone lately, but he does have that same blank, pasty-faced stare that Tim McVeigh had. I personally would not trust him. And geeze, the fact that "Chief" supporters may not be either competent spellers or all that good at dealing with complicated cultural issues like racism and violence should come as no surprise to anyone who's TA-ed at this university. I also personally find it quite disturbing that anyone would make any sort of excuses for this crap, even a "Chief" supporter. If ANYTHING, this incident show that those who support the "Chief" frequently have latent -- and oftimes blatant -- issues with racism and self-denial about that rather straightforward fact. If that's the best you can do under the circumstances, you must be about as clueless as someone who is stupid enough to actually post such damning evidence that anti-"Chief" activists have been saying for years is true -- that this mascot is symptomatic of a university culture that can't drag itself up out of the mud of hate and racism because it is so institutionalized that it can't see any further ahead than Bush can in Iraq. Will the trustees finally see the light and put an end to this regrettable, self-defeating, and piontless caricature? We can only hope, but they are really running out of excuses for this buffonery.

You're judging the person

You're judging the person based on how he looks? Isn't that a little, umm, bigoted?

UMMM

Why, no, it's just "immature, offensive hyperbole" right?

It's good to see the bigoted

It's good to see the bigoted trolls still exist. I was waiting for it.

Nah

He looks like a pretty typical undergrad guy, but the funny part was really the name of the group and the fact that the announcement was posted in a pro-Chief group.

You may be right

I take issue with your assessment of the second comment on Facebook. As quoted, the comment appears to be just immature, offensive hyperbole - not an explicit threat.

The University may have interpreted it that way - I'm suspecting that if they'd believed that it was an explicit threat, the student may have been arrested. But it was still pretty offensive.

From the News-Gazette Jan. 10

It states that "an investigator with the University of Illinois Police has been assigned to the case... [to] see if elements of a hate crime are present..." Chancellor Herman stated that this "is something all of us should find truly abhorrent" but he somewhat inexplicably seemed surprised that "the debate over Chief Illiniwek 'could degenerate to personal attacks that threaten the physical safety and well-being of members of the community'..." You would think that someone with his intellect couldn't have foreseen this or something similar as the inevitable result of maintaining a racist mascot. The adminstration and the trustees have been whistling past the graveyard of racism, instead of acting to end this travesty. It's time for them to act and I don't mean simply dealing with the perpetrators of the Facebook group. It's time for the university to end the practice of maintaining a racist mascot.

The Clueless Carrying the Stupid

I am very much looking forward to "Chief" supporters continuing to vigorously defend Mr. Towal, his actions and those of all others in the Facebook group he started, and in faithfully following the ideology condensed into the values encapsulated in belonging to a group called "If They Get Rid of the Chief I'm Becoming a Racist."

An apology from a Chief supporter

I am truly appalled that someone would even begin to consider forming a "club" - even a loose online collaborative - with such a purpose behind it. I do support retaining the Chief, but I find that this individual - and the few who thought that this was somehow a good idea - has completely missed the point of honor, courage, strength and decency that most supporters believe the Chief stands for. He is most certainly an embarassment to Chief supporters, the university, the community and the state. Legally, I'm not sure how much can be done to the individual who started that childish and mentally and morally skewed website, but I believe he is the perfect example of someone who is actively racist, and seeking an outlet. If it wasn't the Chief, it would have been something else. On behalf of the vast majority of Chief supporters, to all those personally offended, those who were empathetically offended, and to the community in general, I would like to express my personal apologies for his abhorrent activity in the name of the Chief and Chief supporters. I am truly sorry that someone like this chose the Chief as the public face for his hateful activities.

Sigh..

The entire group was formed as SATTIRE. No actual racism was involved. There was no intent for any kind of threats, nor any plans for violence whatsoever. I find it frustrating that the quotes of two people managed to create such off the wall acusations- no, ASSUMPTIONS that the group was committing "racist violence against American Indians in general."

Ironic screencap

I wasn't sure whether the guy intended the title of the group to be ironic, but that's what made the screencap priceless. FWIW, I never accused Mr. Towal of being the person responsible for the quotes, since I really have no idea who was. One thing to consider, though, is that the comments were apparently very upsetting to the person who was being discussed, "SATTIRE" or not.

Don't Know Why You're Whining

It looks to me that Mr. Towal needs more training and experience about what is "funny" in the real world. Maybe he's just immature. In that case, this will surely be a well-deserved -- and badly needed -- wake-up call about the responsibilities that go along with his right of free speech. My own opinion is that he pretty much meant what he said and it's up to him personally to make the case that it should not be dealt with "at face value" so to speak. So far, he and the others who might have thought there was anything funny about this have yet to take responsibility. Some of our trolls could use the same lesson. BTW, anonymous apologies from "Chief" supporters about this really don't cut it. That's not either taking responsibility or clearly differentiating you from those who show no respect for others -- whether they are fellow students, the faculty and staff of our great university, or the fake and insulting mascot itself. Saying that "If it wasn't the Chief, it would have been something else..." is not at all convincing. I rather doubt that Mr. Towal would have made a site that claimed "If They Don't Bring Back the KKK Club, I'm Turning into a Racist." All Mr. Towal's despicable behavior shows is how the "Chief" continues to represent an implicitly racist invitation, under color of official sponsorship by the university, to belittle, discriminate against, and threaten minorities.

Doug

yes, a mascot purposefulyl exists to keep the native american population in Central illinois 'in line'. Did he make a joke? who knows? was it innapporpriate, obviously, its it highly possible that alot of people are taking this alot more seriously than it probably is? most likely. keyboard warrioring is a very prevelant trend on the internet, even on facebok where you do loose alot of the the anonymity. I firmly believe in zero tolerance for racism and hate speech, but its another thing when society gets so caught up in itself it can't remotely take a joke either. There is a difference between making a joke facebook group and being a hate monger, the person who created the group is of course also not liable for things said by other members in a puclically joinable group where anyone can post. And ML, a wall post is just a forum post in a forum, the 'default forum' is the wall, and the most recent posts are viewable at the groups home page in the default view. So no, it wasn't stickied in any way shape or form. "This really is getting less "funny" the more we learn, so the anonymous defenders and apologists for these hostile acts are only setting themselves up for a fall. It's not satire. It's not funny. It's not tongue in cheek. It's sick, it clearly violates the student code, and it is at least borderline criminal." Have you really learned anything from these follow up posts? No one that has posted has been actually involved, its all factless banter, even alot of my comment is, but you are attacking as if you have ironclad evidence that whoever made the group is a swastika tatoo'd stormtrooper for the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler. Yes the 'death threat' was out of line joke or not, no one likes to read that someone wants to kill them, but taking a situation so serious with no backing evidence is just as bad. It entirely possible that most of the people who even joined the group thought it was joke and joined as a joke, which is more likely than that they are all cohorts in a plot to kill some random native american student. Being a troll on one side of the ball is as bad as being the trolls you are lambasting in your posts. and if you are curious on my stance on the chief: I. Don't. Care. but please, if you can the name and mascot, come up with somthing better than the U of I Prariefire thanks. If the anti movement spent more time on replacement than removal I think they would get farther.

Hard to Take You Seriously

If you really "firmly believe in zero tolerance for racism and hate speech" you sure spent a lot of time firmly arguing the opposite here.

good lord sir. run your

good lord sir. run your comments through a spell check, please!

Standard Excuse Fare

Those who want the chief and his mournful logo removed have heard his apologists and supporters case for keeping him over and over. We get the standard fare, from, “he is honoring Native Americans”, to “why do they have to be so sensitive”, and the one this anonymous person just used, that the whole Facebook thing might just be “a joke” that is being taken too seriously. This is another of the many versions of dismissiveness that we see and hear in abundance. It’s right up there with the widespread dismissal of the term “respect for others” being replaced with “political correctness gone amok.” And there are so many others. The chief was always wrong-headed and should be removed. And, it is NOT the responsibility of Native Americans to come up with a replacement name or mascot. redearth1

White Boys Get a Pass from the Law

WILL AM580 News is reporting that State's Attorney Julia Reitz has declined the press any charges against those who made threats of violence against anti-"chief" activists. She argued that since these threats were made on a webpage, rather than in an email directed specifically at those threatened, she could not press charges. So the lesson learned here is that if you're a punk, you should make your threats in public and never in private. Then you can engage in whatever threatening and intimidating behavior you want. Looks like it's open season again for racists in Champaign County to engage in initimidation against minorities. How long will it be until the Klan starts issuing threats via its own webpage? Would a website that makes threats against police be similarly tolerated? How about threats against politicians? How come the state's attorney doesn't display a similarly critical and questioning attitude against the many questionable arrests that target African-Americans via the "drug war"?

Well

To be fair to Rietz and the police, UCIMC can be quite critical of them, and I don't think they've ever attempted to retaliate or prevent anyone from posting. Also, one of the people they declined to prosecute was anti-Chief.

Threats against the police

Threats against the police are made all the time on this website.

I don't think so

I haven't seen any threats or calls to violence against the police on this site. We don't put up with that kind of of garbage, and such posts would be removed.

A question

Do all those here that wanted the pro-chief students charged, thrown out of school ... think that the anti-chief person that said If I could, I'd take (an expletive deleted) revolver and blow his (expletive deleted) brains all over the (expletive deleted) basketball court." feel that person should suffer the same punishment?

Frankly...

Frankly, I think that all three of the students mentioned in the article sounded like idiots. None of the comments sounded like credible threats, though. UI can't just kick students out for being an embarrassment, but if they can show that the Facebook postings violated university rules, they might be able to take some kind of action.

So...

So if we can't get these kids who made stupid comments thrown in jail forever, maybe we can get them kicked out of school and ruin their lives forever under the auspices of 'university rules.' Great idea. It amazes me that the people who rail all the time about free speech on this site are so quick to lash out at those who they don't agree with. It was a STUPID comment made by a STUPID kid. Quit being so damn sheltered that a clearly sarcastic comment is enough to have you all waving your torches and pitchforks. Grow up, get a life, find some real problems to bitch and moan about. A teacher was just arrested for sexually abusing kids. That's a real issue that our community needs to deal with, not some moron running around in a headdress.

The kids

Bluntly, I don't really care what the university does with the kids at this point - it's the administration's call, not ours. I've been online for a while and have certainly seen "sarcastic" comments. However, those particular posts were pretty vile, and I can understand why people were upset. There are limits to using humor as a defense. You mentioned the predatory teacher; if he claimed that he was only playing a joke on the students, would that make it OK? Thank you for your insight about how the sexually abusive teacher was a "real issue that our community needs to deal with." I would have thought that the pending felony charges were a sign that his transgressions were somehow being addressed, but maybe I'm mistaken.

Post new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer