The UI Board of Trustees passed a resolution about Chief Illiniwek, agreeing to come to a "consensus-conclusion."
About 60 anti- and pro-chief supporters attended the meeting June 17 in Chicago, often becoming vocal as members of the public addressed the board.
Urbana sophomore Nicholas Klitzing said he has "complete respect and reverence" for Chief Illiniwek. He pointed out that students voted overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the chief as the school's symbol in an April referendum. About 35 percent of the school's student body cast a vote in that referendum.
"The honored tradition of the chief should continue," he said. "Chief Illiniwek unites the campus."
Kim Cook, an attorney and board member of the American Indian Center of Chicago, disagreed.
"I am from the Cherokee nation," he said. "Why has it taken the university so long to realize the chief is a racist symbol? "Your duty as a university is to teach respect for ethnic minorities."
Former trustee Susan Gravenhorst spoke in favor of retaining the chief, saying it was a symbol at a university that she has been a part of for more than 50 years.
The consensus-compromise angered the anti-chief group and Urbana student trustee Nate Allen.
"Looking at this consensus-conclusion resolution, I am highly skeptical it is different from a compromise," Allen said. "Why hide behind abstract language? I don't buy it and I don't think the public will buy it."
As Allen tried unsuccessfully to amend the resolution to include a timeline or get rid of the chief altogether, anti-chief supporters stood silently with one arm raised in a fist.
Although trustee Frances Carroll said she was committed to her original resolution that would have asked for the university to retire the chief, she did not introduce the resolution.
After the meeting, board chairman Lawrence Eppley said the resolution is an "indication we are willing to evaluate the chief.
Other trustee business