Sneaky new DU Campus Safety Policy effectively bans Boone mascot costume from DU campus

While DU students were enjoying their well-earned holiday break, certain DU senior administrators were working in the shadows of the empty campus to hatch a devious new ruling, which they have since implemented, hoping you wouldn’t notice….

Yes, the rumors are true. The Denver Boone costumed mascot is now effectively banned from campus, under the guise of a new “Mask Policy” effective January 1, 2018 (from DU Campus Safety Policies Web Site):

“For the safety of all DU community members and guests, persons may not wear masks which conceal the face on University premises, including but not limited to masks worn with the intent to or having the effect of intimidating, threatening, or harassing any other person; avoiding identity while engaged in conduct prohibited by University policies or any law; or causing any persons to fear for their personal safety. This policy shall not apply to: covering any part of the face for religious reasons; wearing protective equipment while engaged in a sport or responding to an emergency or safety situation; engaging in a theatrical production or similar University sanctioned event; or wearing a mask for protection from weather or medical reasons.”

Former DU Chancellor Robert Coombe’s 2008 open letter to the DU community had allowed “[DU] students and alumni to use the [Boone] image … to the extent that they may choose.” However, today, senior elements of the current DU administration have clearly taken umbrage with Coombe’s 2008 ruling, and have now issued this new mask fatwa. Nearly nine years after the unofficial mascot first re-appeared at DU in a community-funded costume, students dressed (or anyone else for that matter) as the smiling cartoon character will no longer be permitted on campus under the new “mask policy”.

What is particularly troubling to us about this new policy is that DU didn’t have the guts to ban Boone outright and face the anger from the DU community directly. Instead, the administration disingenuously used “campus safety” as a cover and rolled out the policy when the students were away. We believe this policy is little more than an excuse to ban Boone while hiding like weasels behind a “prevention of terrorism” rationale.

To make matters worse, an earlier version of the mask policy that was posted on the DU website in mid-December (and screen-captured by us) contained information about how to seek exceptions to the mask policy (see key passage below that we’ve underlined in red).

Campus Safety

Naturally, some well-connected people we know immediately inquired whether an exception could be made for the Denver Boone costume, as long as the students wearing the costume could be vetted before each event — identified, photographed and wrist-banded. Thus, it would be clear to Campus Safety who was inside the Boone costume at each event, thereby removing virtually any possible safety threat…if in fact, safety was the real issue.

Unfortunately for Boone fans, the Chancellor’s Office promptly declined the Boone exception, which confirms, at least to us, that the policy is mostly a sneaky, executive move to eliminate the Boone costume from campus.

Perhaps more shocking is that immediately after denying the request for an exception, the policy wording on the website was actually changed to remove that last underlined sentence about seeking exceptions, to the version you can see today. If this reminds you of the ever-changing “Seven Commandments” on the barn wall in George Orwell’s dystopian novel Animal Farm, you wouldn’t be far off…

In our view, the whole policy, the denial of the exception and the changing of the wording are all outright disingenuous and pretty ironic for a top university that purports to promote free speech and makes its own student community sign an honor code!

Surely, the DU Advancement Office is going to love this development, especially as they head into a new Capital Campaign. After all, who doesn’t love the troika of lost donations combined with revived student, alumni, donor, and sports fan anger, all accentuated by a copious potential helping of the bad press to come. What a fun environment to raise money in!

By the way, we take no joy in writing this. We know some members of the DU community are tired out from years of mascot wars (and we suspect the DU administration is counting on this fatigue factor). And no one loves our school more than we do. People connected to this blog and our loyal cadre of readers have done more for DU school spirit with their own funds and energy than anyone we know. We hate seeing our Pioneer pride and school traditions crushed by people who care little about our traditions. We shed this light on the dark corners of our beloved university in order to bring the issues into the open and hopefully, to solve them together.

Most importantly, if we don’t fight once again for our shared history and traditions, we fear they will be wiped away forever.

Shame on you, DU.

Note: If you think the costumed Boone mascot should still be allowed on campus, you may want to reach out to the following offices: DU Board of Trustees and DU Chancellor’s Office

56 thoughts on “Sneaky new DU Campus Safety Policy effectively bans Boone mascot costume from DU campus”

    1. Yes, a cutout face of Boone on a wooden stick given to anyone who wants one and taken out when the game starts. Let Boone be seen on all sides of the rink!

  1. A very sad day for every member of the DU Community who values who we are and what we care about. I am heartbroken, angry and mystified by the behavior of my University.

    This is the latest chapter in a long-running drama that I am fearing now may be entering into a final chapter of identity loss from which DU, as we know it, may never recover…

  2. Not a chance this has to do with the multiple sexual assaults that happened last couple years by masked individuals

    1. It might have been part of that, however if that was the impetus then DU would have allowed the exception of the Mascot.

  3. What a senseless sneaky underhanded way to cut the legs out from beneath the students, alums, and the DU community, not to mention the blow to school spirit!
    Exactly who is responsible for designing and implementing this new ‘safety’ policy? She-He-They should be tarred and feathered.
    Over the past 50 years my family and I have donated many tens of thousands of DU. Should Boone ultimately be banned as a result of this policy the university can kiss our future donations goodbye.
    My next call will be to my attorney to modify my estate plan deleting DU from any bequests.

    1. I too donated to DU annually for decades. Stopped when the administration’s Boone purge first started. This latest farce is the last straw. I have already had my attorney modify my estate plan to remove DU as a beneficiary. My low (very low) 7-digit bequest would not have made much difference to an institution the size of DU, but the Illinois Railroad Museum is now going to be very happy when I die….

  4. I was one of three “Boone Alums” contacted about the “Mask Ban” over XMAS Break.

    I was driving around Houston and received a (303) phone call. Some DU Vice Chancellor, I never heard of, put me on speakerphone with the head of DU Security. Took me a while before I could figure out what the Hell they were talking about.

    Boone was never mentioned in the 15 minute phone call. There was talk of “protesters in Berkley” “terrorists” “shooters” & “banning people from hockey games for face painting.”

    I mentioned that I thought it was pretty stupid to ban people for painting their faces.

    Then I said if they banned Boone & I’d never donate to DU again. They said, “That would be a shame.”

    The next day I emailed Erin Dietrich at the DU alumni Office & asked to be removed from all emails, mail & phone communications from DU. She was gracious & took care of it.

  5. du athletics’s extrernal affairs department needs to share some major blame for this fiasco too since clearly they were involved with the decision, call 303-871-7973 to complain!

    1. I have it on good authority that this effort is coming directly from the DU senior administration, and NOT from DU athletics. I can’t speak for all of the athletics administration, but those whom I know are not happy about this development at all…

      However, I think its a good thing to express your feelings to every administrator you know at DU, athletics or otherwise. They need to know that you care, have a voice, a wallet and and will tell others about how unhappy you are. The more voices raised, the more donations withheld. and the louder you are, the better our chances of changing their minds….

      1. are they pulling this during the transition to a new AD on purpose then or is that just a coincidence?

      2. Is this policy to squash groups like Antifa from wearing face masks or is this an effort to finally kill the DU Boone character? I am semi-familiar with this issue, it seems that there’s still a Boone is racist movement by the academic elites at your college.

    2. On December 18 we requested via email an exemption to the Mask Policy to allow Boone into Magness. Ed Rowe, in the Chancellor’s Office replied, “To directly answer your question, the approved policy that goes into effect in January does not include an exception along the lines of what you suggest in your email.”

      He added, “The policy was created in close consultation with the Chair of the Board of Trustees. The chancellor approved it after sharing with other members of the Board.”

  6. As a DU graduate it doesn’t surprise me. The administration at DU has been a liberal joke for a decade +. Their so consumed by political correctness that they can’t even accept a mascot. There is a reason so many Alumni refuse to donate or even participate with the university post graduation. True pioneers stand with Boone!

  7. Sounds like you need to become ordained by the Universal Life Church and sign up the student body as members. Your church happens to require that the minister be “clothed” in ceremonial attire. ie The Denver Boone religious attire. Fair is fair.

  8. Just when the University wanted to get closer to alumni and the greater Denver community. Major blunder. Seems like this entire affair could have been avoided.

  9. This new policy scares me to think if this is just one more step closer by the administration to advance an agenda to eventually retire the Pioneers nickname all together? As a traditionalist and one who thinks it’s a unique and great nickname, I sure hope that’s not the case.

    1. Chopp is behind all of this so sending her an email won’t help. But emails are the best course of action right now. I just emailed the Board of Trustees.

      DU Board of Trustees:

      If you want an extra zinger, I emailed Erin Dietrich at the DU Alumni Office & asked to be removed from all emails, mail & phone communications from DU.

  10. The language of the mask ban arguably does not even apply to Boone. The “including but not limited to” language is a little problematic. However, the types of harm that the rule is trying to prevent have nothing in common with the effect that a friendly mascot has at a sporting event.

    Eiusdem Generis: of the same kind or nature. A rule of interpretation that where a class of things is followed by general wording that is not itself expansive, the general wording is usually restricted things of the same type as the listed items.

    In the meantime, I will put away my checkbook this year, as well.

  11. Classic DU… being to afraid to face the students and the community about their shady actions.

    1. Wow, that’s a lot of comments. And this is only the first day of a mascot policy. Can you imagine the reaction if they ever do ban the Pioneer nickname?

      I assume that DU will be tracking our reactions closely, if only to see how much resistance they will need to overcome in order to get what they want.

      It’s important for them to realize that for every negative comment or e-mail they get on this issue, there are many more negative thoughts that are never written, as the less engaged just fall off and are never heard from again.

      For a school that had seemed to be working hard to rebuild alumni trust by investing more heavily in alumni relations under Chancellor Chopp, kicking their most engaged alumni and fans in the teeth once again by trying to sever them from their identity may set them back years…

      1. I find it difficult to believe they were focusing on alumni relations when they had no information available about homecoming until 1 month prior. Then, they called it #PIOHOCO!

  12. The goal, ultimately, is the elimination of Western Civilization from the United States of America and to turn this great country into an imaginary Utopia which will only ever exist in the minds of the self serving. These people measure their worth according to their place on the intersectional oppression ladder. They live on a fictional moral high ground. All problems are externalized and blame has already been assigned.

    1. Too late. Already sent it to the Board of Trustees. Maybe they will care that we are speaking with our wallets. Rebecca Chopp doesn’t.

  13. Amazing this move would be taken without consulting stakeholders (alumni, students, fans) … it goes against everything we were taught at DU in public relations and marketing classes at the graduate level. It’s like they didn’t even consult with their own public relations professors, the people who understand these issues. No respect for what they teach and the degree I earned.

    1. DU’s mascot-related PR flubs have been going on for many years now. I believe there is a certain arrogance that each new DU administration thinks they know how to finally fix the mascot issue because they must know better than their constituents’ wishes and despite advice from others who have lived through the past mistakes, they just end up usually making it worse than it was before. Chancellors Dan Ritchie, Bob Coombe and now Rebecca Chopp (and their professional communications staffs) have all tried to fix this issue, with nothing but errors to show for it.

      The problem is also likely related to high PR staff turnover. Each Chancellor brings in a new crew of PR people, and sometimes several of them over a tenure. Each new Communications person likely also thinks they have a special gift of insight/experience that their predecessors did not have…They almost always make more enemies than friends on this issue…

  14. Fucking ridiculous. It’s a benign, unoffensive mascot…. why they have wasted so much time and effort over the years trying to get rid of Boone is beyond me. If this is an example of the administration’s priorities and operating style, i’ll Have to think twice before donating to DU.

  15. This new policy would seem be in conflict with every other high school, college and professional sports venue in existence. It would prevent any visiting teams from ever bringing a masked mascot to campus and also eliminate most options for any future Boone replacement. Also no Bernie if the Avalanche host another Burgundy/White game.

    Media attention and public scrutiny would seem to be the key to exposing the faults of this policy. Will Boone be forcibly removed if he steps on campus? Would the same happen to Rocky, Dinger, Miles or Bernie if they visited DU campus in solidarity with Boone? Should Boone appear at the next DU hockey game without his mask to make a point?

  16. DU’s Hamilton Gymnasium is scheduled to host the 2018 Colorado High School 3A Basketball Championship in March. Has the Colorado High School Athletic Association been informed that “masked” school mascots are prohibited from attending?

  17. They weren’t hiding it. They sent every student like, two emails with this information listed. Have an agenda much? this is some biased writing.

    1. DU may not have hid the policy, but they certainly hid their primary motive behind the policy and then clearly backtracked in changing the policy once confronted with a logical exception. People are rightfully ticked off about that, since it’s disingenuous and sneaky – not the honorable behavior we would expect from a world class university.

  18. How about corporate mascots? What if DU Athletics had a deal with say, a fast food company that happens to use large black and white cow costumes as the face of its brand? Oh wait….

    1. Yes, of course DU can do what it wants. But they have a current mask policy that currently that doesn’t allow for exceptions (they suddenly took that language out after people called for Boone exception), and if they decide to be selective about including other mascots without including Boone, they’ll not only have to put that exception language back in the policy, they will be exposed again for having a laughable mask policy that shows just how sneaky they are and far they went to ban a mascot they didn’t like. Either way, they’ll be exposed and ridiculed as the bumbling hypocrites they are, which further undermines DU’s credibility on leadership and policy.

      But yes, Boone is doomed. And I believe the Pioneers will be too. We’ll be stuck with a new politically correct, non-western nickname.

      And the DU we once knew and cheered will be something else.

      1. I am pulling for you guys. Unfortunately, I have experienced this, and this seems to be the beginning of the end to the Pioneers nickname. Fight it hard, make it miserable for the DU administration.

        That’s what happens when someone deems your moniker/nickname to be hostile and offensive. I personally don’t see anything wrong with Pioneers or a dude dressed up like Daniel Boone. I had a t-shirt that DG sent me, but my wife threw it out because it was full of holes.

  19. Eric makes a great point.

    The big difference between DU and UND nicknames is that our controversy is entirely self-inflicted. The NCAA didn’t call us hostile and abusive – our own leaders did.

    1. Just know they spent nearly $60,000 to an outside firm to consult on a new nickname and mascot a few years ago. Results came back inconclusive how they should move forward! Good money spent there!

      1. I heard DU spent $200,000.

        Either way, DU could of given an full ride to a deserving student but they’re obviously more interested in playing diversity politics than actually funding minority scholarships.

  20. This subject has gone cold. What’s the next step (for the school or for us) in changing the mask policy?

    1. As far as I know, the school is unlikely going to change the mask policy, no matter how stupid the policy is, and no matter how dishonest the implementation of the policy was. The fact remains that the Chancellor, the Board Chair and Senior Staff members wanted to eliminate the Boone character from campus, and they created a way to do it, and then they did it.

      For now, complaining about it here on this blog seems to be little more than a broken record. We’re preaching to the choir.

      There are some things we might consider going forward to expand this action, including more social media action, petitions and demonstrations, but at the end of the day, these things need to have enough critical mass to be effective…

  21. Boone turns 50 this year. Too young to die. The original Boone was a student with no mask. He wore a self grown beard. Obviously we don’t want a student doing this because of the repercussions he might face. (guess a female Boone is out of the picture for now) However since Boone has no affiliation with DU, a non-student can do it without any need to worry. We both know a former Boone who can grow the fastest beard in Denver. Are people still bringing Boone signs into Magness?

Leave a Reply