HAMDEN, Conn. — The Quinnipiac University Board of Trustees has voted to discontinue using “The Braves” as its athletic identity for all of its Division I men’s and women’s athletic teams.
The trustees’ decision was based on a recommendation by President John Lahey, and followed a semester of discussions by the Faculty Senate, Student Government Association, President’s Cabinet and the Alumni Board of Governors.
Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs, said, “Although fond of the tradition we’ve had for 50 years, the university community clearly recognized the difficulties of using a name that has the potential to misrepresent and denigrate an entire group of people. And, despite our clear intention to honor and remember the Native Americans once known as the Quinnipiaks, to do so only through athletics was found to be no longer appropriate.”
Earlier this year, Colgate changed its nickname from “Red Raiders” to just “Raiders.” An ongoing controversy surrounds use of the name “Fighting Sioux” at the University of North Dakota, though the nickname has withstood numerous challenges.
According to a university news release, there were other dilemmas with using the Braves name.
“Quinnipiac’s women’s teams were offended by the use of the Lady Braves moniker, and graphic representations-logos and mascots-were similarly burdened,” the release said. “The institution, out of concern for these sensitivities, had stopped using human representations of Native Americans years ago.”
The Quinnipiac community, including students, alumni, faculty and staff, now will be asked to recommend alternate suggestions for an athletic identity program for the university. A final recommendation is expected to be made to the Board of Trustees before the end of the 2001-2002 academic year.
Ultimately, Bushnell said, the intent is to create an athletic identity consistent with the quality and level of competition in which the university now participates.
“We want to build an image that will help strengthen QU athletics, and in so doing, create an emblem our athletes and fans will wear with honor and pride,” she said.
Director of Athletics Jack McDonald agreed, saying, “QU has incredible campus spirit, but the limitations provided by ‘The Braves’ nickname has made us unable to capture and promote that spirit with mascot, logos and nicknames.”