Mascot impersonator draws homecoming backlash

Posted: Updated:

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) – University of Illinois students are lashing out about a mascot impersonator.

Protesters organized by the U of I student government voiced their anger about someone portraying former mascot Chief Illiniwek during the school’s homecoming parade. Students and faculty have called the character racist.

“It is a reminder that we are not an inclusive university, we are not diverse in our actions and we do not represent all bodies when we still allow cultural appropriation on our very own campus,” said student president Raneem Shamseldian.

The school stopped using the name and mascot in 2007. Protesters rallied during the parade and ended up stopping festivities for about 20 to 30 minutes as they nearly turned violent.

The university’s “Honor the Chief Society” is for the mascot, saying Chief Illiniwek is important to U of I tradition. An impersonator has been in the parade every year in recent years, but the group had to stop using the name and logo as part of a 2013 settlement.

Shamseldian says he wants the university to make a permanent change in its mascot soon.

Current Conditions
/
  • Current Events

    • Spirit of Giving

      Join WAND, Cromwell Radio, Walmart North and Macon County Toys for Tots in the Spirit of Giving Toy Drive, Friday, December 1st. T

    • Coats for Kids Drive

      DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - You can help keep central Illinois children warm this winter by donating new and gently used coats during WAND-TV's Coats for Kids drive.

    • Agribusiness Today

      Get your agribusiness report here!

    • Web Exclusives

      Here at WAND we strive to bring you the latest coverage on news happening across central Illinois, and this page is a continuation of that effort.
    More