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May 04, 2016 06:48 AM EDT

University of Illinois Searching For New Mascot After Retiring Controversial 'Chief Illiniwek' Nine Years Ago [VIDEO]

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University of Illinois is officially searching for a new mascot. The university had to retire their controversial mascot, Chief Illiniwek nine years ago. The old mascot was deemed offensive and racist against Native American Indians.

University of Illinois chancellor Barbara Wilson approved the request of the Illinois Student Senate ad hoc committee for a new mascot. A committee made up of at least 10 people will be working together to decide the new mascot that will replace Chief Illiniwek, The News-Gazette reported.

Chief Illiniwek was put into retirement in 2007 after the University of Illinois received countless criticism and backlash for racism against Native American Indians. The new mascot will be University of Illinois' "first" one as they preferred to call Chief Illiniwek a "symbol," Chicago Tribune noted. Native American Indian groups found Chief Illiniwek an offensive stereotype. The university retired him after being pressured by the NCAA and school was fined by not being able to host postseason events.


Many are still looking forward for the Chief Illiniwek to be back despite University of Illinois' decision to move forward with a new mascot. University of Illinois alumni and students are reportedly against getting a new mascot and wants Chief Illiniwek to be out of retirement, CBS Local wrote. However, the administration believes that a new mascot will unite and benefit the university.

Wilson announced that University of Illinois' new mascot will embody the principles of the school that is also "inclusive" and "honorific," according to The Daily Illini. Furthermore, the university will not be replacing "Fighting Illini" as the nickname nor will they remove the popular "Three-In-One" anthem during events.

Do you think Chief Illiniwek should make a comeback as University of Illinois' school mascot? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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