"The Way It Is"

Black students used the former university mascot, Chief Illiniwek, to describe the pressure and stress of academic demands. Joy Ann Williamson in her book Black Power on Campus writes about how, in the mind of black students, it became them vs. the Chief. 

The Chicago public school system often had not prepared students, who were at the top of there class in high school, for failure. The Chief was a symbol of forces that killed the aspirations of the students - there were sayings on campus such as "watch out or the Chief will scalp you" or "the Chief got him and he won't be coming back."

The Chief was a metaphor for the problems which hindered black students at the University of Illinois. If the Chief killed a student it meant that he/she dropped out as a result of campus life or institutional indifference.

To the right are statistics for the SEOP program. These graphs display the number of students lost in the first two years, as well as the state of the students' academic records by the start of 1970.