News Local/State

U Of I Athletic Department Retiring ‘War Chant’ Music

The Marching Illini performing at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.

The Marching Illini performing at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. University of Illinois Bands

The University of Illinois will no longer use the music known as the “War Chant” during athletic events on its Urbana-Champaign campus.

Word began to spread on social media Thursday night about the decision, which was confirmed by U of I athletic department spokesman Kent Brown Friday morning.

Brown says the administration made the decision in part to enhance the atmosphere at Illini events … and in part to make those events more inclusive.

“There’s been discussion about that for many years," Brown said, "through the university administration and some other groups on campus, and so we feel like this is an opportunity to make it more inclusive for everybody at our events.”

The U of I retired Chief Illiniwek as its symbol in 2007, but the marching and pep bands have continued to perform music associated with the Chief. 

Brown says the use of the music known as the “Three in One” will continue during halftime of athletic events.

University of Illinois professor Jay Rosenstein, a longtime critic of Chief Illiniwek and the use of Native American imagery in U of I athletics, tweeted his agreement with the university's decision.

Others voiced their disagreement with the decision.