Homecoming Floats Have Never Been This Contentious

The University of Illinois's chancellor invoked the First Amendment to lift a ban on mascot Chief Illiniwek.

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The unofficial, unsanctioned return of Chief Illiniwek passed under the politically correct radar this weekend at the University of Illinois homecoming parade, the New York Times reports. Chief Illiniwek and other Native American imagery have been officially "retired" by the Illinois Athletic Department, but the school's chancellor lifted an Illiniwek ban on parade floats by invoking the First Amendment. According to the Daily Illini, the school's statement said, "The University values free speech and free expression and considers Homecoming floats, decorations, costumes and related signage all representations of such personal expression." More than a thousand spectators were still sporting Chief Illiniwek gear at the parade, and no protesters showed up to challenge the ban's reversal. So much for moral outrage.