Professor on Leave After Mascot Dispute

January 29, 2018

Jay Rosenstein, a professor of media and cinema studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and vocal critic of Native American sports mascots, was arrested at the State Farm Center last week for following members of a pro-Chief Illiniwek group into a bathroom and videotaping them. The former Illinois mascot was retired in 2007, but some around campus continue to unofficially portray him at sports events. Campus police initially detained Rosenstein for unauthorized recording, but he was released from county jail the next morning, after the state’s attorney’s office declined to charge him with a crime, according to The News-Gazette.

Rosenstein is reportedly on paid administrative leave while the university investigates the incident. He denies accusations that he invaded anyone’s privacy and has said he was merely attempting to document whether any Illinois employees may have helped the unofficial mascot to prepare for an appearance. Illinois said in a statement that Rosenstein’s alleged actions "do not comport with the university's Code of Conduct" and that videotaping in a public restroom without permission is "an unacceptable violation of personal privacy under any circumstances."

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