CHAMPAIGN — A billboard supporting the controversial former mascot of the University of Illinois has resurfaced after a decade-long hiatus.
Attorney John Gadau resurrected the billboard supporting the Chief Illiniwek mascot last month, The News-Gazette reported . Gadau said he can use the space for his billboard for a year.
"If nobody likes it, that's fine," he said. "If everybody likes it, that's fine. But it's my billboard, politically correct or not."
Gadau first posted the billboard that says "The Chief, yesterday, today, forever" in 2007, when the university stopped using the mascot under NCAA pressure as many called the portrayal offensive to American Indians. A 2013 push to reinvent the Chief ultimately didn't garner support.
Two university trustees recently visited the Peoria Tribe in Oklahoma to discuss how to move past the mascot issue.
Stephen Kaufman has been a longtime opponent of the Chief mascot. He wrote a letter to UI Chancellor Robert Jones that said calls for the reinstatement of the Chief mascot have grown despite Jones' efforts.
"The most meaningful actions you can currently take to end this truly sad and harmful chapter in UIUC history is to move without further delay to establish a new mascot, and have the Marching Illini prepare for a new season that does not include any reference to the Illiniwek tradition," Kaufman wrote.
Campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler said Jones is committed to finding "a path