Note: As the publisher of LetsGoDU, our mission has been to promote the University of Denver, support athletics, and grow the Pioneer spirit. Recent events have forced us to critically examine what is happening at the University of Denver. This article is our best effort to bring these activities into focus so we have a clear understanding of the orchestrated efforts within the University of Denver which are promoting the elimination of Denver Boone and even the replacement of the school’s 93-year nickname, Denver Pioneers.
Mike Chambers, who has covered University of Denver Hockey for the Denver Post since the 1990s, tweeted Tuesday night that he heard from DU Alumni that the nickname “Trailblazers” may have been the intended replacement name for the Pioneers. We had heard that troubling news as well, including the disturbing detail that the administration may have been planning to announce this name change the first quarter of this year, or possibly, within weeks.https://twitter.com/MikeChambers/status/950936640893075456
In fact, our own highly-placed sources now indicate that senior elements of the DU administration were working for many months in collusion with key staff and student groups to lay the groundwork for this potential name, as well as a mascot change.
Fortunately, our readers’ response to the bungled mask policy scandal we exposed on this blog over the last week has likely damaged this Pioneer name replacement plan. But until the administration comes forward and publicly announces that Pioneers will remain our name, we urge Pioneer fans to remain skeptical.
Let’s look into the timeline of potential collusion and between DU senior administrators, staff and student groups. Here is what we know so far of the orchestrated campaign:
The first time we heard about any potential campaign to remove DU’s Pioneer nickname was back in April of 2016, when DU insiders informed us that some staff members within DU’s ‘Inclusive Excellence’ area were taking aim at the DU nickname and to not be surprised if a campaign to remove it became a reality. Obviously, they began to get serious over the next year.
The “No More ‘Pios’” campaign” by the DU Native Student Alliance was organized and launched in October of 2017. We know that this group was encouraged by Inclusive Excellence staff, and that members of DU’s ‘Inclusive Excellence’ staff helped them procure materials used to create their #NoPios campaign.
By November, the DU Student Government (USG) was already working on a new mascot, as per its minutes from the Nov 14th meeting.
Here are the minutes from that meeting:
In November, some of our blog staffers were alerted by DU student leaders that they and other student organizations were told that DU may be “planning something in regard to nicknames and mascots” for “January 2018”. The student leaders were told by DU to “stop what they are doing until then” — implying that it was all going to be taken care of in January. Indeed, the potential name/mascot change decision may be inferred from point #9 in the USG minutes “School has been tackling this issue for so long that may be time to simply make a decision.”
In mid-December, key alumni leaders we know were contacted by Renell Wynn, DU’s Vice Chancellor for Communications, and advised that a mask ban had been approved by the DU Board of Trustees. Perhaps the administration was hoping that a response to the ban would be buried by holiday distractions. We’ve since exposed the mask policy as anti-Boone motivated, rather than a safety-motivated policy.
While we’re in the early stages of figuring out who did what and when, it’s clear to us that the Inclusive Excellence faction of the DU administration has been leading this charge against the Pioneer nickname and mascot, and we believe that they have been encouraging DU students to help drive their movement.
As of today, there have been a number of media features on this scandal that you should be aware of:
It should be noted that DU is now sending (slightly personalized) form emails to those who have complained, saying that “rumors online” of a name change are “false”. The convoluted wording of the emails, however, fails to positively assert that our nickname will, in fact, remain “Pioneers”. We have heard the email is based on talking points provided to staff, as the university tries to control the damage it has created.
New Information added 1/12/18:
Do not let your guard down. Keep on writing until the Chancellor and/or the Board of Trustees makes a public statement that we are, and will be, Pioneers forever.
Send your emails about the new mascot policy banning Denver Boone and the future of the Denver’s Pioneer nickname to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to cc Alumni@du.edu.