Washington Times Writes About "Boone Issue"

From: Washington Times
by Valerie Richardson

DENVER - Many universities have come under pressure to reject their American Indian mascots, but in what may be a first, the University of Denver has ditched a non-Indian mascot on the grounds he wasn't sufficiently diverse.

A university committee gave the final axing in October to "Denver Boone," better known as Boone, a portly, chubby-cheeked cartoon character in a coonskin cap who represented the University of Denver Pioneers from 1968 to 1998.

"The old Boone figure is one that does not reflect the broad diversity of the DU community and is not an image that many of today's women, persons of color, international students and faculty and others can easily relate to as defining the pioneering spirit," Chancellor Robert Coombe said.

Boone, drawn by Walt Disney in 1968, was shelved in 1998 for his "lack of gender inclusiveness and the changing image of the university," according to the student newspaper, the Clarion.

Students and alumni have lobbied to bring back Boone ever since. A university survey taken earlier this year in response to a resurgent "bring back Boone" movement showed that 87 percent of student and alumni respondents held a favorable opinion of the pudgy pioneer and wanted to see his return.

The university put the mascot question last year before its History and Traditions Task Force, which decided to shelve Boone permanently after critics argued that he represented an era of Western imperialism and was offensive to women and minority groups.

"The name 'Boone' is linked to Daniel Boone, and to people of Native American ancestry, it's sensitive because he was part of a movement that pushed Native Americans to the side," said Monica Kumar, president of the undergraduate student body.

"We are a university that has been very sensitive to diversity and one of our objectives is to be inclusive," said Miss Kumar, who sits on the committee. "And this was an opportunity for us to come together and show our inclusiveness."

Mike Rosen, a DU alumnus and Denver radio talk-show host and commentator, called the decision "annoying but not surprising."

"It's an example of the hyper-sensitive, politically correct epidemic in higher education as well as secondary education," said Mr. Rosen, who was not involved in the movement to resurrect Boone. "Are they going to do away with the name 'pioneer?' I would think that would be at least as offensive as the mascot."


dggoddard said...

Read the comments after the article. Once again the decision is ridiculed by readers.

du78 said...

Great comments by the readers. They are spot on and the DU administration should have not folded their cards for a handful of radical faculty members. Very disappointed in DU not listening to the students and alumni.

BillyJ said...

One reader comment in particular really highlights the slippery slope that the anti-Boone crowd is standing on. That is if we continue down this road that Boone represents the politically incorrect imperialistic western expansion (otherwise known as our collective history)then we better start looking for a new name for the city we live in. Take a quick look at James W. Denver's Wikipedia page and tell me what the namesake of the city of Denver "represents to people of Native American ancestry" and his role in his "part of a movement that pushed Native Americans to the side." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_W._Denver

Anonymous said...

Hey BillyJ,

I'm not anti-Boone because of any diversity bullshit. I'm anti-Boone because he's a retarded looking mascot. Ruckus isn't any better. End of story.

dggoddard said...

I have no problem with people who think Boone is "retarded looking" for lack of a better phase.

But no one who objects to Boone ever puts forth any ideas on what would be a better logo.

BillyJ said...

To each their own. I personally like the Boone mascot because of the historical ties to the school and the region. And some of the best college mascots out there are "retarded looking". Take a look at Brutus Buckeye.