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Are we going to be named the “Braves” for long?
Imagine a fall, Saturday afternoon in Connecticut. The morning dew has just dried and the faithful fans of the Quinnipiac Braves pour on to each field. As the athletes get ready to take center stage in their respective competitions, a sense of unity fills each one of them. Each athlete knows that not are they committed to winning, but also to uphold the name of the Braves.
As the day progresses chants of “Go, Braves, Go” echo through out each field, encouraging and electrifying everyone who are present. However, there seems to be something peculiar about this entire situation. There is a certain bit of restraint in each participant’s voice. Restraint not for the fear of loosing, but for the fear that this chant along with the Quinnipiac Braves team name will cause offense to others. In fact, the concern that ethnically oriented names will offend people has become a pressing issue here at Quinnipiac University.
For many collegiate teams, the team name and mascot are often a major aspect of the whole athletic experience. The name can often work itself into many cheers, clothing apparel, and other products, while the mascot is always the first figure to get the crowd fired up for a game.
Here at Quinnipiac we currently go by the logo the “Quinnipiac Braves,” however this nickname does not hold much symbolic purpose. “It is very difficult to have the Brave as our mascot. It is only a nickname. We cannot and do not have a mascot at any games,” remarked Athletic Director Jack McDonald. Four years ago, the university decided to get rid of any icons that resembled the Brave, as well as the infamous “Tomahawk Chop” chant.
Since those four years have passed, this issue is being revisited again. Although it has only been a discussion thus far, Quinnipiac University is looking to new ideas about our mascot. “We are spending the semester asking for the feelings of the people in our community, and there are strong arguments on each side,” stated Public Relations Director John Morgan.
Many students, such as Senior Dana Gugliotti, argued that, “Quinnipiac is a Native American name itself. We represent a very underrepresented community with honor and respect.”
However, the contrary feeling is that the representation is degrading and dishonorable. Morgan commented that, “We want to make sure that we are not creating a hostile environment by having a Native American mascot.”
Although it may seem very localized, situations similar to these have been occurring for quite some time around the country. Recently, near by Colgate University decided to change their nickname from the Red Raiders, a name that seems to have no Native American reference, to the Raiders. Also, the N.C.A.A has commissioned two organizations, the Minority Opportunity and Interest Committee and the Committee on Gender and Diversity, to make recommendations on the use of ethnically geared mascot names.
Also, it may not seem that the nicknames of professional teams has been affected, but the ramifications are a lot more subtle. It is no coincidence that every expansion team in any league since 1990 has not had a nickname geared towards a certain race, for example the Orlando Magic, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Minnesota Wild. Also, teams with Native American names, such as the Cleveland Indians, have dealt with many lawsuits for having such logos as “Chief Wahoo.”
Regardless of where cases like these occur, the most crucial aspect to making head way is informing the masses. “Within discussing this issue, we would like to educate and inform the students and faculty on this situation,” stated McDonald. And even though this issue is still in the early stages, the public here at Quinnipiac is totally unaware.
When posed the question, “Prior to this interview, did you have any idea that this was a situation here at Quinnipiac,” a number of students all replied with, “I had no idea.” McDonald confirmed the attempted arise in awareness. “The Student Government has been made aware of this issue.” In order to get a clear demographic of the feelings on campus, everyone must be given the opportunity to speak.
Morgan established that anyone with strong feelings on this issue should, “Make the Student Government aware of your feelings. After all, this is a great chance for them to show the community how much work they do.”
Regardless of how this situation ends up or personal feelings, senior Miranda Nesbit surmised, “If we are going to be a diverse school, we need to be aware of how this affects people.” In order to gather these opinions, I urge anyone that reads this article to get actively involved in the events to come.