From: DU Clarion Student Newspaper
by Lindsay LaRocque
AUSA Senate discussed the controversy that developed about the cartoon character at the senate meeting last Tuesday.
The conversation began with Senate President, Monica Kumar announcing an upcoming statement will be made by the chancellor.
"October 1 will be the upper level meeting in which the Chancellor may come out with never bringing [Boone] back as the official mascot," Kumar stated. "From their perspective, there's no way to resolve this."
Senate members are divided with one side feeling that there will be a marginalized portion of students who find Boone to be offensive.
The other side feels that the senate need to push for what the majority of the student body.
Arts and Humanities Social Sciences Senator Tess Cromer said, "Whatever the circumstances, if there is a group which feels marginalized, we as a Senate cannot support such an initiative."
On the other side of the issue was President Pro-Tem, Junior Javi Ogaz.
"We need to be attuned to what people feel is offensive and what the majority wants," Ogaz stated. "To function as a Senate, we need to reconcile with the entire student body. We must do something for the good of the school and the community."
A student-led initiative to bring Boone back as the mascot for the University of Denver has been in progress for years.
Students manufactured t-shirts, stickers and pins with the cartoon plastered on them.
This initiative resulted with Boone's image being incorporated in the school year planners that are distributed to students. These planners were recalled & destroyed at the start of the year.
On the social networking Website Facebook, there are pages made by DU students solely dedicated on bringing Boone back to campus.
Students leave comments on the pages like "Has anyone ever heard of history?," "We have to cherish ours," "BRING BOONE BACK," and have posted videos in which students are asking where Boone is.
Despite the majority of students wanting Boone back, there is still the voice of those who do not.
On the same networking site, students against Boone are stating that he should not be allowed back because he is a "symbol of racism, genocide and oppression."
This is referring to the reason why Boone was retired in 1999.
It is believed that Boone, who was created by Walt Disney, represents the historical figure Daniel Boone, a man who led other pioneers to massacre Native Americans in their quest to settle the continent.
Many areas around campus have stopped the movement to bring back Boone.
"From an athletic perspective, all the athletes have dropped the idea of Boone completely," said Chair of Intercollegiate Athletics, Dani Espinosa.
Peg Bradley-Doppes, vice chancellor of athletics, said that the Chancellor has always been clear the Boone will never be an official mascot at DU.
"The university has a moral responsibility to do what's right," she said.
Bradley-Doppes is also co-chair of the History and Traditions Task Force.
The group was convened last October to "examine and celebrate our [DU's] rich history and traditions and try and create more of a campus culture," she said.
Part of the task force's charge was to look at Boone and gather the public's opinion of him as a mascot.
Currently, no decision will be made by the task force regarding Boone until more discussions take place, Bradley-Doppes said.
She was involved, however, in the decision to print this year's planners as the original design featured Boone on almost every page.
"There was some heightened sensitivity because we were made aware that Boone might be offensive to individuals on our campus," she said of the decision to reprint the planners without Boone's image.
New planners will be available near the end of the quarter.
With the AUSA Senate as the representatives for the entire student body, it will fall upon them to further a mascot search because they feel that the students on campus are just not happy with the current mascot, Ruckus, the red tail hawk.
"Boone is gone for all student purposes, but we as a Senate can dialogue about a new mascot," Kumar said.
So what's the next step for Senate and Boone, other than waiting for the chancellor's official statement?
Senate advisor Carl Johnson, who is also the director of student programs and Greek Life, said, "We need to hear from all students, groups and administrators. We need to get educated about all their perspectives."