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Chicago Olympics July 28, 2006

Posted by j-dub in News - Local.

For those of you who might not know, Chicago is one of 3 finalists trying to host the 2016 Olympic games. There is potential for some of the Olympic events to be held right here in Champaign-Urbana at the University of Illinois.

With respect to this issue, WCIA ran a story yesterday about a University professor, (who’s last name I can’t remember, but I believe it started with an S) who wrote a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the sole purpose of saying the University of Illinois/Chicago would not be a suitable venue for the olympic games. He says this is because the University still uses the Chief as their mascot. Basically, he said University wouldn’t be appropriate to host an international audience because of their current Chief issues.

Hold on just one second…Let me preface my comments by saying I support the Chief and I’d be sad to see him go. However, I understand the possible disrespect is causes to Native Americans and if the University did decide to part ways with the Chief; I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

That being said, what’s this guy thinking? If I were the University I would find some way to can this guy for slander against the University. His whole premise was that we at the U of I support a racist, stereotypical, and insensitive mascot and therefore wouldn’t be worthy of hosting any events for the Chicago-based games which would have an international audience. Gee, I’d sure like to have a job where I can outright diminish my employer in the media, get away with it, and still keep my job.

I understand it’s his opinion and his right to say something, but give me a break. Most people in the real world wouldn’t be allowed through the doors the next day after making such boldface comments about their employer. Especially considering the fact that he wrote a letter to the IOC to jeopardize the Chicago Olympic bid.

And another thing, if he despises the U of I so much, why is he still working there?

Obviously, the IOC doesn’t think it’s a problem or Chicago probably wouldn’t be in the final 3, or at least there wouldn’t already be talk about the U of I possibly hosting events if Chicago got the bid.

Some people are truly amazing.

I have two questions:

  1. Does the Chief have anything to do with respect to the Chicago bid, even if events were to be hosted at the U of I?
  2. Would you still have your job after a similar incident?


1. Anonymous - July 28, 2006


1. Absolutely not. If I were a Chicago resident I would be upset that some professor wants to throw a wet blanket on an event that would bring a lot of benefits to Chicago. And only because one of the ‘possible’ venues might be on the UIUC campus a professor doesn’t think Chicago merits the games.
2. No, or at least not much longer. Academia is the only place where someone can get away with publicly bad mouthing their employer and still keep their job.

One word for you. Tenure.

2. j-dub - July 28, 2006

Tenure, what a great idea (sarcasm). IMHO, it’s protected more bad teachers/professors over the years than good ones.

The other interesting thing was it appeared as if the guy was giving the interview FROM HIS OFFICE!

I thought that was even more incredible. I wish I could remember the guy’s name.

3. Anonymous - July 28, 2006

I agree. Tenure has been the crutch keeping intellectually lazy or outright morons in positions they have no business being in. I am so sorry I missed that interview on TV. If I were a university administrator I would kindly asked the prof to conduct future interviews concerning his personal opinions at his residence and not from his office giving the view that it, in some way, has the approval of the university even thought it may not be the case. The reason there is not everyone on the IOC is American and understands what that all may be about and only add confusion.

4. j-dub - July 28, 2006

The interview was played yesterday on the channel 3 news at 6pm.

I think it was from his office. It was defintetly an office, whether it was his university office or his home office, I don’t know for sure.

5. Mike - July 29, 2006

Sigh. No, tenure allows professors to express unpopular opinions without fear of retribution. That, in case you were wondering, is a good thing. Get rid of tenure, and I’d happily fire every conservative economics professor who worships at the altar of Milton Friedman, and replace them with people who have souls. See? It cuts both ways. It’s contractually protected freedom of speech.

Do you really want Rod Blagojevich to have firing power at the universities?

6. Anonymous - July 29, 2006

Tenure is used by profs to denigrate their employers in the only profession that allows it. In the past it was meant to protect profs who wanted to investigate non traditional theories without fear of restrictions or criticisms from university administration. Today tenure is abused by profs to bad mouth their employers and others without fear of retribution no matter how absurd.

Believing that a renown economist as Friedman may have valid views with regard to econmists is different than calling your employer a racist. And Blago would not have be firing people. Mike, your sarcastic comments regarding Friedman make me wonder.

7. j-dub - July 30, 2006

Sorry Mike, but I have to agree with anon; to a certain degree.

The good teachers do their work in the classroom and that always shows and is completely obvious in most cases.

The bad teachers get lazy, have a TA do all the work, or use their position in the academic community to try and voice/force their opinions/agendas on others.

In my personal experience, I would say tenure protects the bad teachers more often than not.

Also, I would like to think most employers of academic prestige would employ their best teachers based on merit in the classroom and not their “contractually protected freedom of speech” outside of the classroom.

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