Friday, February 16, 2007

Political Correctness Results in a Lawsuit

From the Chicago Tribune.

The University of Illinois' American Indian mascot, Chief Illiniwek, no longer will perform at athletic events on the school's main campus after Wednesday....

University officials had made extensive preparations for today's announcement. But according to a source familiar with the university's plan, the process took a turn Thursday when the two students who portray the chief filed a lawsuit against the university and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The students were seeking a restraining order that would prevent the university from dumping the chief and would lift the NCAA's sanctions against the university's sports teams. A hearing on the lawsuit was under way this morning....

The students' lawsuit against the university and the NCAA alleged that being forced to abandon their positions as chief would violate, among other things, their freedom of speech, academic freedom and future economic earnings.

The students are Dan Maloney of Galesburg, who performs at men's football and basketball games, and assistant chief Logan Ponce of St. Charles, who performs at women's basketball and volleyball games.

According to their complaint, retiring the chief would damage their reputations and jeopardize their ability to receive academic credit. The students receive credit from the School of Music for portraying Chief Illiniwek, according to the complaint.

"As has been the case for many former students who have portrayed Chief Illiniwek, many valuable employment and career opportunities and professional associations have been opened to those who have had the privilege and honor of portraying Chief Illiniwek," according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also argues that the NCAA failed to provide due process to the students and the university when it issued the sanctions, citing a 1991 state law that requires certain procedures, such as hearings, before penalties can be imposed....

NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said Thursday that the NCAA believes its sanctions are legal.

"We intend to aggressively defend our position if it comes to a court hearing," Williams said. "We not only have the right but also the obligation to ensure our NCAA championships are conducted in an atmosphere free of racial stereotyping and one in which all of our student athletes, athletic staff and fans feel comfortable."

By the way, remember the Fighting Whites from the University of Northern Colorado? Their website is now gone. But you can still buy the T-shirts. Ah, commerce.


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