Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DU Sends Out Mascot Email to Alumni

Dear University of Denver Alumni:

You are a vital part of our DU family, and as part of our efforts to keep you informed we want to let you know of upcoming plans at the University to conduct a study that will result in the adoption of a new mascot. The study, initiated by the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), will seek to include the input of all segments of our campus community. As an alumnus, your feedback and involvement will be a critical part of the process.

To help you understand more about this study, it’s important to provide you with some background on mascots at the University of Denver. We currently do not have an official mascot and have not had one since 2008.

Over the last few weeks, there has been considerable controversy surrounding the "Denver Boone" figure that was our mascot some years ago. As you may know, "Boone" has not been the mascot of the University since 1998. An effort to resurrect Boone was mounted by student and alumni groups in 2008, and this led to the assembly of a University committee to gather opinions from different sectors and consider the matter at length. It quickly became clear that Boone was a polarizing figure that did not reflect the growing diversity of the DU community, but rather was an image that many women, persons of color, international students, staff and faculty members found difficult to relate to as defining the pioneering spirit. Consequently, it was decided that Boone would not be our official mascot.

The current Boone figure that is seen at athletic events is in keeping with what was outlined in a letter sent to the community in 2008, allowing students and alumni groups to use the image as a celebration of the past, to the extent they may choose. The figure is not used in any official manner by the University, nor is any financial support provided by DU for its use by others.

The study will not be evaluating support for Boone; rather, it will be looking toward a new mascot that the entire DU community can get behind and embrace. The University has offered its support to the student government task force through its office of Marketing and Communications.  During the next couple of months, a professional research study will gather input from students, alumni, staff, faculty and other members of the community about how we can express ourselves as Pioneers in a new mascot.  This is a similar process that led to the new University logo that was successfully launched last year.  The USG plans to engage in this effort through spring quarter, with a recommendation to be forwarded to the Chancellor’s office and the Board of Trustees.

Over the years, the University of Denver has evolved to become a diverse community that strives to be welcoming and inclusive for everyone. It is our intention to continue to involve all of the University’s many constituencies in this process and work collaboratively to find a celebration of school spirit that reflects our identity as the Pioneers, embraces our growing diversity and represents the exciting future of our institution.

We appreciate your continued support of the University of Denver.  Please send your comments to alumni@du.edu and include your name, class year and contact information. 


Kristine Cecil
Associate Vice Chancellor for University Advancement &
Executive Director of Alumni Relations


8:16am said...

While the email is very polite and respectful, the fact that I did not receive the email as an alumnus bothers me. I get requests for donations all the time through the US Postal service, but somehow am left out of this issue. If this is how DU is going to move forward, I hope they gather input from everyone, not just those they choose to send the message to creating a bias.

dggoddard said...

Two polls conducted in 2008 by DU's Communication Office and The Clarion showed Boone's favorability rating at 80% & 87% respectively.

The University of Denver has provided no data and conducted no surveys or opinion polls to prove that "many women, persons of color, international students, staff and faculty members found difficult to relate to as defining the pioneering spirit."

Its an intentionally misleading statement. We believe that Boone is very popular with women, persons of color, international students, staff and faculty members.

For the Alumni Relations Office to mislead to our alumni in this email is disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

I am a faculty member and have never been asked about my opinion regarding Boone, Ruckus or any other mascot. The choice of words in the email appears designed to preempt any expression of support for Boone rather than let alumni voice their own opinions. Very disappointing and not something that alumni should let slide.

Unknown said...

Coombe is hiding behind skirts. So now, let's play a little bit of the comparison game.

Just imagine if Coombe were the President of the University of Southern California, home to "Tommy Trojan..."

First comparison that comes to mind is - a mascot named after a condom? Insulting to all members of the university family who, well, you know...

Tommy Trojan - A guy wearing a skirt, something very offensive to Turkish people, where ancient Troy is located. And he wears sandals, which offer no protection or support and could cause medical issues.

In this time of unnecessary war, he proudly wears a breast plate and helmet designed to evoke the warrior class of ancient Greece, even though Troy wasn't in Greece.

He rides a horse in a manner that may offend several PETA members, but less than a handful.

He brandishes a sword - a deadly weapon - in this era of heightened sensitivity concerning deadly force. He stabs said sword into the home team's logo on the football field at away games. Such institutional arrogance!

He gallops up and down the sidelines after each USC score, waving the sword. More unsightly arrogance.

And finally, imagine what Coombe would say about the immodest, sexist presentation of the world famous "USC Song Girls" as the band plays "Triumph" and Tommy Trojan rides Traveler around the stadium thrusting the sword in time to the music.

Oh, that's right - Coombe hasn't mentioned DU's scantily clad cheerleaders. Never mind...

Timothy Wurtz
DU '73
Los Angeles, CA

Anonymous said...

What I hate about all this is the use of "inclusive excellence" as the cover for sweeping out Boone.

Real inclusive excellence includes the MAJORITY of the DU Community, not just pandering to the minority.

If you want to help minorities, that's great. Do it. But don't tell us that the mascot is "polarizing" without any proof, study or evidence.

Anonymous said...

I received zero email and have been active with undergrad recruiting efforts as part of the advisory council for more than 15 years. I guess my oopinon is of zero value. Arg! Class of '72

Anonymous said...

You can also call Kristine and tell her what you think. Just make sure to call her at home during dinner time.
(303) XXX-XXXX. [Phone number deleted by LetsGoDU2]

dggoddard said...

Don't feel too badly if the DU Alumni Relations Office didn't send you the original email.

They also haven't taken the time to respond back to any of the alumni who emailed them feedback on the Mascot Issue.

Kristine probably hasn't been told how to respond by Coombe or DU's Marketing & Communications Department, so she's obviously paralyzed.

Let me help her out....

"Dear DU Alum,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to Mascot Email. We value your input and will pass along your comments to the Mascot Task Force.


Kristine Cecil
Associate Vice Chancellor for University Advancement &
Executive Director of Alumni Relations"