In Illinois Controversy, No Criminal Charges for Students Who Rant on Facebook

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Controversial symbol Chief Illiniwek of the University of IllinoisFacebook messages threatening an American Indian student at the University of Illinois are not enough to compose a criminal case, a state's attorney said this week--but they still could get students in trouble. Messages sent directly to the student might warrant a case, but not messages posted on a public forum, the state's attorney concluded after university police approached her asking for advice. Legal recourse is out, but university officials are still considering private disciplinary action, the Associated Press reports. The messages were posted on a group defending the school's Chief Illiniwek mascot, which the school has maintained despite complaints from American Indian groups and the NCAA. The group was called "If They Get Rid of the Chief, I'm Becoming a Racist."


Controversial symbol "Chief Illiniwek" of the University of Illinois performs during the half-time show of a game between Illinois and Michigan at Memorial Stadium October 16, 2004 in Champaign, Illinois. Michigan defeated Illinois 30-19.