Survey shows Simon Fraser athletes want Clan nickname dropped

A survey exhibits a majority of the scholar athletes at Simon Fraser College assist a transfer to drop the Clan because the title for the varsity’s sports activities groups.

Initially known as the Clansmen, however shortened to Clan, the title was meant to honour the Scottish heritage of Simon Fraser, the fur dealer and explorer who the varsity was named after. However for some, the title provokes photographs of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan.

“For scholar athletes and followers, you need to be capable of signify your faculty with pleasure and honour,” mentioned Othniel Spence, a former captain of the boys’s basketball crew who has been outspoken in his criticism of the title. “As an alternative, the feelings that come [from] the title is extra of disgrace and embarrassment.”

Since 2011, SFU, which is situated in Burnaby, B.C., about 20 kilometres from downtown Vancouver, has competed within the NCAA Division II Nice Northwest Athletic Convention in opposition to American universities starting from Alaska to Oregon.

Spence mentioned regardless that the SFU crew title is the Clan, many American athletes and followers hear Klan.

“It is sort of bizarre,” he mentioned. “A crew title needs to be inclusive to everyone, however this crew title 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 title to be modified.

Ryan Stolys, president of the SFU Scholar-Athlete Advisory Committee, mentioned the protests which have swept throughout North American following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis accelerated the controversy.

“With the occasions of the previous week, they ramped up [discussions] extra just lately to sort of deal with the difficulty extra instantly that we would beforehand deliberate,” he mentioned.

“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 title 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 alter the crew title?”

Of the 163 individuals who responded, 125 had been in favour, 25 opposed and 13 abstained, mentioned Stolys.

There have been conversations round a brand new title, however nothing has been determined.

“There are such a lot of events which can be concerned in what that might appear like,” mentioned Stolys. “We need to be sure it is inclusive to everyone, not like our earlier title, and [that] it instills a way of pleasure amongst not simply scholar athletes, however all college students at our faculty.”

In 2019, Montreal’s McGill College mentioned it could change the title of its males’s varsity sports activities groups from the Redmen after Indigenous college students, college and employees mentioned the title was discriminatory. Within the U.S., a number of college groups have undergone title adjustments.

Spence mentioned 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 mentioned the varsity is conscious of the “many alternative views and opinions concerning the Clan athletics crew nickname,” and whereas taking part in 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 overview course of has been underway for a number of months inside the college to offer “the idea for a choice on this troublesome concern.

“The college is deeply dedicated to Black college students, college and employees, and to the neighborhood at giant. We acknowledge that we’ve 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 mentioned SFU has the chance to ship a constructive message to its college students.

“I imagine if SFU actually adjustments this title quickly it is truly displaying motion, not simply utilizing their phrases, however their motion in the direction of supporting athletes of color and supporting an all-inclusive setting,” he mentioned.

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