Saturday, January 17, 2009

DU's AD Lashes Boone In Rocky Mountain News

DU has decided finally to take the gloves off and take on the Boone issue. In today's Rocky Mountain News DU Athletic Director Peg Bradley-Doppes took her best shot at defending the company line.

In a carefully worded reply to Mike Rosen's editorial last week, Bradley-Doppes said, "University [of Denver] administration took our findings and other opinions into account before Chancellor Robert Coombe announced his decision last fall. We agree that a mascot should be a unifying symbol, not a divisive one. The decision was the right one for the university."

Read the entire article and especially the comments from the readers.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dragging Monica Kumar into the spotlight yet again is entirely inappropriate. Shame on Doppes-Bradley! I highly doubt she consulted with Ms. Kumar before submitting this piece.

Anonymous said...

This is the opinion of a miniscule minority within the University staff and the university itself -- it does not necessarily represent the view of any student involved in this. To leave out the 87% approval survey shows the low-quality response that the hyper sensitive university has come up with.

Anonymous said...

The Princess of PC!

Jason L. said...

Anonymous users ought to stand up and create an account. Posting without a name makes you a coward.

Anonymous said...

If you haven't noticed yet, this is the internet...

Jason L. said...

I have noticed... But you are still a coward. This discussion should be about the vague letter posted by AD Bradley-Doppes. It's about time the University spoke, but students, alumni, fans, and others need more.

puck swami said...

Monica is an engaging young adult who ran and won her post for the student senate, and has worked very hard for her school. I really think she means well, and as part of a minority group herself, I think she deeply wants inclusive unity rather than division.

Yes, she's taken a media beating on this issue, some of it unfairly, and other parts it of likely due to her inexperience with the media and their tendency to cherry pick quotes that fit the story they want to write. But this is a great learning experience for her about how journalism works, and while painful now, will serve her well in her future.

Personally, I'd rather see Coombe defending his decision rather than Peg, who I think has been likely put into a difficult spot, as I would guess she was "asked" (prodded/cajoled/ordered?) to write this rebutall to Rosen in order to show a unified du front.

I think in a perfect world without a few aggreived faculty malcontents, Peg would have liked to have Boone back, but she's caught in a difficult vise between waht her boss wants (diversity), and what her constituents want.

DUcub2611 said...

Really that's her excuse. My god its pathetic. What happened to being different and not caring what other people think.

I_am_a_coward_boo_hoo said...

Posting without a name is part of the blog. If there's such a problem with it, take off the feature or try another blog. I don't even go to the University but I keep up with the students and team. Making me "known" to the world doesn't change opinions.

tt said...

Does anyone else think she looks completely insane in that picture on the blog?

I see quite a bit of disillusion behind those nutty eyes.

Otto said...

"Jason L" makes your comments more transparent? Please. You are such a standup guy.

There's a continuing theme much bigger than the Boone issue. DU has terrible leadership. I'm not sure whether Coombe or Peg is worse, but it's a tight race. They continue to make poor decisions supported by equally poor PR moves. Peg must go before she chases our beloved Gwoz. Maybe she could pack up Mr. Coombe and take him too. As a season ticket holder, it's very easy to see the last 6-12 months as a complete disaster. Bring in someone that knows how to run an athletic dept.

Anonymous said...

The AD's letter is vague and unsubstantiated. Very lame indeed. I hope that is not the last official response we hear about this issue from DU.

Jason L....good grief, this is the world of cyberspace. If you don't like not knowing with whom you're conversing, get off the internet and stick to town hall meetings. Calling people cowards on a blog is completely pathetic.

FTW said...

Jason, a good politician doesn't belittle their constituents.

Aren't you like a politico-in-training or something? You should know this already.

Yelling as an Anon on the "intertubes" doesn't mean anything. Most of those people just don't bother to click a different radio button at the bottom and just hit enter after typing the word verification. To think they aren't helping the cause is nutty. I'm sure many of these people are quite helpful in their own ways, in real life. Or IRL since this is the interweb and all.

Jason L. said...

I guess putting my name does allow you to make associations with who I am. Now, posting as annonymous does not. Nor does it allow for their to be relations to a previous post. For those who wish to discuss this further please email me via the blog. Let's get back on topic.

Beyond that point, I am grateful for the many alumni who have reached out to the University on this issue. Puck Swami hits the nail on the head with his comment. Dg and others, thanks for your dedication to continuing your cause. I think it's safe to say that the pressure for Boone does continue into a new year.

dggoddard said...

Back in her second year as DU's director of athletics, Peg Bradley-Doppes explained her vision for this school and its athletic program.

"We need everyone to realize that this is their athletic program," Bradley-Doppes explained. "This program belongs to the students not to me, not to the coaches, not the TV stations. Without the students we are not here."

Doesn't the Mascot Debate belong to the sudents as well? Not the AD, alumni, the chancellor, the faculty, the hockey blog, the fans, the media or anyone else.

Why can't the students decide on their mascot?

du78 said...

DG, well said and let the students decide.

puck swami said...

I am going to stick up for Peg in terms of running an atheltic dept. The first way you an evaluate an athletic dept is do they win? In DU's case, they win. They are the best non-football athletic dept in America according to the NACDA Cup points, with 10 of 17 teams making the NCAAs, 8 coaches of the year and and NCAA title last year. Sports Illustrated ranked DU #23 overall out of 320 D-I Athletic Depts across America. Frickin' amazing on a 20 million budget.

Second evaluation point is do the athletes graduate? At DU 80-85% of athletes graduate, a higher rate htan the student body, and the overall GPA in athletics is 3.2, on a par with top schools in America. Awespme again.

The third evaluation point is marketing, and here DU faces more challenges than most schools due to its unique mix of sports, a difficult conference reality outside of hockey, a saturated market with lots of entertainment options. She's made some positive steps - she's worked to implement a number of initatives from fans like us, and she's reached out in ways that few of her predessors ever did.

Hockey crowds are sellout or near it, basketabll attendance has doubled, pep band is improving, spirit in general is up.

The Boone issue is a downer for sure, but I don't blame it on her -she'd love to have Boone, but her boss says "no" and it's not worth resigning over.

On balance, I give Peg an A-.

dggoddard said...

Then FIRE THE BOSS.

What is amazing are the comments in the Rocky Mountain News from "former" DU Donors. How can DU turn their back on so many people who have contributed to the school?

I donate money as well. And I have spoken to many people that are about to become "former doners." Why would DU alienate its core supporters?

pcuk swami said...

I think Coombe is counting on the number of 'angry Boone donation drop-offs' to be minimal, and his upside is that he's looking to be a hero in front of his faculty and his Board Chairwoman, who is known to be Anti-Boone for feminist reasons.

I think in his mind, the whole Boone thing stands in the way of his vision of DU becoming a "great university dedicated to the public good." In his mind (and much of his faculty's mind) the 'public good' is all about service, inclusion, contribution, diversity and opportunity. He believes in that far more than he believes in school symbols that cause problems for him among the people he needs for his vision to succeed. He wants DU to become a 'moral exemplar' (some would say a utopia) for a more open place, not the rich man's country club DU has been for so long.

In his mind, Boone is a symbol of the old DU, not the new DU. He does not want tradition at the cost of alienating the new audiences he wants to impress, and he is risking some disatisfaction among more conservative alumni like us. But historically, most DU alumni are apathetic, and he's probably counting on that to continue in terms of Boone. We need to keep the pressure on by upgrading the intellectual level of debate, by courting heavy hitter donors and insiders, expanding media visibility.

I am, like many, am ticked off by DU's decision on Boone, but I still donate to the school. It's like my family - I may be ticked off at decisions they make, but they are still my family and I don't cut them off. DU gave me a lot of opportunity as a student, and even opportunity more as an alum.

Plus, the students there now are amazing kids, and deserve our support. They are smarter, more competitive and work harder than I did when I was there, and they've made DU a better place, and they've made my degree worth more.

Twister said...

The one thing that continues to baffle me about all this, and others have brought this up as well: why is the university seemingly content to keep the Pioneer nickname but not have a pioneer related-mascot, Boone or otherwise? There's absolutely no logic in that. I'm assuming it's the school's way of tap dancing around the issue and trying to appease all parties, but to me it just makes the situation more ridiculous.

The university needs to either embrace and honor the pioneer, or move on a choose another mascot.

puck swami said...

A Pioneer can mean more than western settler. It can mean innovation, risk, or discovery in more than just the west. The problem with a non-western Pioneer is that it doesn't lend itself to a good visual mascot.

Plus, DU does not want to alienate all alumni, either, as the Pioneer name has been around since the 20s and coennects the all generations of living alumni.

In Coombe's mind, he'd like to see us re-imagine what a Pioneer looks like...

dggoddard said...

Coombe, Bradley-Doppes, Ritchie, Murphy, Moran & Burns didn't attend DU. Yet they seem to be driving this issue.

Amazing how every time this issue comes up in the Post, News, Washington Times, Channel 9, Clarion, blogs or Face The State, no one ever comments against Boone. There must be close to a thousand replies against this decision.

puck swami said...

All true, DG. There are about 1,000people that have made some noise on the issue, 99% of whom are pro-Boone. Most people who care enough to write probably are pro-Boone. DU is betting that a lot of other people either don't care about it, or don't write anti-Boone stuff on computers because they don't want to get into arguments with pro-Boone zealots like us.

The anti-Boone decision makes little sense to the average person, who only sees the athletic identity, seeks a western identity and who (often) has little idea about the school's future vision and strategy to be more diverse.

DU is counting on what they think is a "silent majority" of inaction rather appease than the rabble rousers...

Anonymous said...

Swami-what about Yosemite Sam or is he more of a Cowboy?

Twister said...

Pioneer is indeed a word/concept that can mean different things. but in the context of a mascot or something that college students can rally around while rooting on their sports teams, is there really any other version than the rugged, manly, western version?

Maybe a bunch of amazingly creative minds could get together and figure out a suitable Pioneer likeness that is not western settler-related. I just can't picture it....

Anonymous said...

I think this issue keeps coming up in the media because Coombe and the rest of his followers are afraid. They're afraid of mass chaos at a private institution. They don't want to rock the boat or cause a stir when they keep trying to market the school to new students.

With that said, here's the problem: whether Coombe or the AD or Jesus H. Christ himself are to blame for issues or conflicts at hand, they will inadvertently get ran over when shit breaks loose. Never pick a fight with a bulldozer. More importantly, never run out of the trenches when machine gun fire is spraying out on everyone.

They give students these "communicate your thoughts" events but they're really photo ops to calm the crowds. They might as well say "we're a private institution and you do things our way or get the hell out."

Notice the phrasing of "some circles" in that RMN article. I'd say we protest and riot, but then again the mighty "private" catchphrase may put us in prison. Are there really no other ways to get something done?

...and as a side note: we've been living in a sexist, racist, and overall egotistical society for quite some time now. Don't deny it. Want to solve the issue? Stop making it look like we're always walking on eggshells. By attempting to always force this phony image of "diversity," you inevitably become what you attempt to prevent... You just feel better about yourself because you're able to mask real issues with words that sound good.

Group hug! Photo Op!

Steve said...

On another note, to those that get offended by posts such as the previous one, realize this is a blog: forceful opinions will exist.

Amy said...

As a DU student, I still find their excuses of Boone not being "diverse" ridiculous. Looking at the Boone symbol itself there is nothing offensive. They could associate him with fur trading because of his hat but even that is a bad excuse to get rid of Boone. He's not holding a gun or a weapon and yet they call him "micro aggressive" (a term that no one seems to know what it means).

With absolutely nothing wrong about Boone's image, why do they still insist he is offensive? Is it because of the word "pioneer"? If that were true, wouldn't they get rid of the DU Pioneer name first? So it shouldn't be that issue. Or, do they just think he is offensive because of his relation to Daniel Boone? Even this is no reason to get rid of Boone. For those who don't know, Daniel Boone was actually adopted by an Indian tribe.

So with all this covered, why do they still insist on not letting the students choose Boone? At this moment I find it hard to respect Coombe or his goons for this reason. Like others have said...let the students (majority rule) decide what they want. Coombe is taking away our democratic right to make a decision on this issue. I wouldn't be surprised in Coombe started taking away our "Bring Back Boone" signs or shirts next.

Anonymous said...

This lady is clueless and I agree with LetsGoDU, signed Sioux fan. Apparently Sioux fans and Boone fans are in the same boat. I bet this lady has never had a good time in her whole life. Good gracious. Can't wait for the big showdown.

puck swami said...

Amy:

Some Native Americans on campus (and those who who sympathize with them) see Boone (or any western Pioneer mascot) as an oppressive symbol of western colonization - a vivid genocidal reminder of the loss of their culture and way of life, and a reminder that they are still ruled by the white majority.

Some women at DU, including several in high places, also find Boone offensive too, due to his lack of ability to represent female athletes.

Together, I estimate the 'offended' at perhaps 10% of the DU community at most, with the other 90% majority being made to suffer...

Private universities are usually not democracies - they are collaborative dictatorships of political correctness that seek to impose a utopian moral order - a bubble where everyone gets along and no one is ever offended...

Keep fighting the power. We only win when enough of us make enough noise to make them change their minds.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, the movement's in motion with mass militant poetry
Now check this out...uggh!

In the right light, study becomes insight
But the system that dissed us
Teaches us to read and right

So called facts are fraud
They want us to allege and pledge
And bow down to their God
Lost the culture, the culture lost
Spun our minds and through time
Ignorance has taken over

Yo, we gotta take the power back!!"

Anonymous said...

That wouldn't be the one and only Chuck D, would it?

Steve said...

Try Rage Against the Machine

msbdu said...

I wrote an email to the AD concerning Boone and here is her reply:

Thank you for your email. I appreciate your passion and support for DU.
Peg

She contines with the company line.

dggoddard said...

The issue is no longer about a mascot. Its about a school that's intentionally taken a path away from its students, fans and alumni.

The question is, can we rally enough support to hold them accountable?

Puck Swami is totally correct when he says that, "We need to keep the pressure on them by upgrading the intellectual level of debate, by courting heavy hitter donors and insiders, expanding media visibility."

Anonymous said...

"The issue is no longer about a mascot. Its about a school that's intentionally taken a path away from its students, fans and alumni."

Couldn't have said it better myself.