A survey exhibits a majority of the scholar athletes at Simon Fraser College assist a transfer to drop the Clan because the identify for the college’s sports activities groups.
Initially referred to as the Clansmen, however shortened to Clan, the identify was meant to honour the Scottish heritage of Simon Fraser, the fur dealer and explorer who the college was named after. However for some, the identify provokes photos of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan.
“For scholar athletes and followers, it is best to have the ability to symbolize your faculty with pleasure and honour,” stated Othniel Spence, a former captain of the boys’s basketball staff who has been outspoken in his criticism of the identify. “As a substitute, the feelings that come [from] the identify is extra of disgrace and embarrassment.”
Since 2011, SFU, which is positioned in Burnaby, B.C., about 20 kilometres from downtown Vancouver, has competed within the NCAA Division II Nice Northwest Athletic Convention towards American universities starting from Alaska to Oregon.
Spence stated although the SFU staff identify is the Clan, many American athletes and followers hear Klan.
“It is type of bizarre,” he stated. “A staff identify must be inclusive to all people, however this staff identify is extra conflicting, particularly to scholar athletes of color. It is simply exhausting to have that dialog time after time. Or hear snide remarks or hear snide feedback.”
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Way back to 2017 there have been requires the Clan identify to be modified.
Ryan Stolys, president of the SFU Pupil-Athlete Advisory Committee, stated the protests which have swept throughout North American following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis accelerated the talk.
“With the occasions of the previous week, they ramped up [discussions] extra just lately to type of tackle the difficulty extra instantly that we might beforehand deliberate,” he stated.
“I feel we have all skilled a way of awakening and opened our eyes to the racism that in exists in our world.”
Athletes in favour of identify change
Final summer time, the scholar athletes’ advisory committee carried out a survey of 246 returning athletes. They had been requested “ought to SFU provoke the method to vary the staff identify?”
Of the 163 individuals who responded, 125 had been in favour, 25 opposed and 13 abstained, stated Stolys.
There have been conversations round a brand new identify, however nothing has been determined.
In 2019, Montreal’s McGill College stated it could change the identify of its males’s varsity sports activities groups from the Redmen after Indigenous college students, school and employees stated the identify was discriminatory. Within the U.S., a number of college groups have undergone identify adjustments.
Spence stated a lot of the athletes he is aware of helps dropping the Clan. Any pushback has come from alumni or donors.
Interview requests despatched to the SFU Alumni Affiliation weren’t answered.
Faculty conscious of issues
In an emailed assertion, SFU’s media relations division stated the college is conscious of the “many alternative views and opinions concerning the Clan athletics staff nickname,” and whereas enjoying within the U.S. “some have mistakenly made associations between our Scottish nickname and the Ku Klux Klan.”
SFU “is deeply troubled by and attentive to the feelings and issues to which these associations have given rise, significantly in mild of our revulsion to and condemnation of anti-Black racism.”
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A evaluate course of has been underway for a number of months inside the college to supply “the idea for a choice on this troublesome situation.
“The college is deeply dedicated to Black college students, school and employees, and to the neighborhood at giant. We acknowledge that we now have a lot work to do to make sure that our beliefs for a simply society are mirrored in our personal practices, insurance policies and procedures, and we’re actively engaged in efforts to higher assist the Black neighborhood.”
Spence stated SFU has the chance to ship a optimistic message to its college students.
“I imagine if SFU actually adjustments this identify quickly it is truly exhibiting motion, not simply utilizing their phrases, however their motion in direction of supporting athletes of color and supporting an all-inclusive surroundings,” he stated.
— to www.cbc.ca