Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hail to the Chief

Amazing, isn't it?
A friend recently invited me to join a Facebook group called "I Deserve Better."  A link from this page shows that what you don't know can hurt you.  Upper administrators (including Renee Romano, vice chancellor for student affairs, and Richard Herman, former chancellor) here at the University of Illinois did their best to block the registered student organization Students for Chief Illiniwek (SFCI) from sponsoring a "Next Dance" event featuring the former UIUC mascot.  (You can read the details here). 

I know that the Chief himself has been a divisive issue on campus, but for a minute, think about the generalities of this case, and not its specifics.  While projecting the image of an "inclusive" campus, administrators clearly showed that they do not value freedom of speech when they disagree with the message.  And that, my friends, is a sad state of affairs. 

You may or may not care beans about the mascot issue.  But let me ask you this: have you seen the banners proclaiming "Student Affairs is Everywhere You Are?"  Yeah, well, if that is true, and you have a message that student affairs doesn't particularly want broadcasted, you may face the type of censorship that was narrowly avoided in this case.

I, for one, have seen how administrator bias affects run-of-the mill operations.  A friend and I work are starting a student group, and though we have provided a lower-level administrator with our group information multiple times, they fail to post them on the website provided to advertise this group to other students in our field.  Meanwhile, they personally send out information from a student group diametrically opposed to our student group.

Kudos to those who filed a freedom-of-information act in the Chief case to see exactly what was going on behind the scenes.

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