Photo credit: Erin Hooley / The Chicago Tribune
A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Professor has been accused of following members of a pro-chief Illiniwek group into a restroom and videotaping. He was arrested for unauthorized videotaping but was released from the county jail since the state's attorney's office did not charge him with a crime.
Jay Rosenstein, a Professor of Media and Cinema Studies at UI, countered initial depictions of what happened and claimed he "never, ever at any time or any place, filmed or recorded anyone in a state of undress or urinating in a public bathroom...it's an absolute, complete lie." Rosenstein is reportedly on paid administrative leave while UI investigates the incident.
Rosenstein is a documentary filmmaker and a "vocal opponent of Native American sports mascots," and was at the arena the night of the Illini-Michigan State game to film the student who was appointed by the Honor the Chief Society to dress up like the Chief mascot. He claims that he was simply attempting to investigate and document his suspicion that university employees were helping "facilitate the Chief's performance" - an act that would "undercut the university's agreement with the NCAA." Rosenstein claims to have overheard security discussing the Chief's planned appearance and, while recording on his cell phone, followed them to a restroom he believed was the staging area. He then claims having walked in and encountered Illinois graduate Ivan Dozier, who portrayed the mascot from 2010 to 2015.
Dozier tells a different story. He said he saw Rosenstein in a concourse and ducked into a bathroom to avoid a confrontation. Rosenstein then came in, holding up his cellphone and "caught [him] between the urinal and the sink." Dozier recalls, "it was definitely a violating experience. There was no way he would have known what he would have seen when he walked in."
The university responded by stating that if "the allegations against Prof. Rosenstein are accurate, they do not comport with the university's Code of Conduct..." Some students believe that replacing the Chief mascot would "have the ultimate healing effect," and "in the absence of a new mascot, I don't think it will be possible to fully move forward."
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