BREAKING NEWS: DU removes “Pioneer Card” name from DU identity cards

In yet another stunning move, DU is now issuing University ID cards which lack the “Pioneer Card” header that had previously been on the cards, as depicted in the above photos. Since at least 2006, DU had issued “Pioneer Cards” to all students, faculty and staff as DU’s official identity and access card. This decision effectively severs the most visual, tangible and authoritative Pioneer nickname linkage between the University and the cardholding DU community.  

This move appears to be another in a coordinated series of DU-initiated steps to remove the word “Pioneer” from common campus usage. Just a few months ago, DU changed the 94-year old Pioneer Awards to Crimson and Gold Awards and a few weeks ago, DU changed the Pioneer Passage freshman orientation program to “New Student Convocation”. Each of these changes has been made despite DU Board of Trustees 2018 assurances that DU would in fact, retain the Pioneer nickname.

After LetsGoDU reached out to the University of Denver for comment on this newest erasing of the Pioneer name, Renea Morris, DU’s Vice Chancellor for Communications and Marketing initially advised us that an “unfortunate error” had removed the “Pioneer Card” heading from recently-issued identification cards. Morris stated, “We are working to fix this immediately: “Pioneer” will appear at the top of the new cards.” 

Pioneer ID 8
These are actual ‘before’ (upper) and ‘after’ (lower) Pioneer Cards provided to us by the same DU cardholder.  The lower “after” card was issued earlier this summer without the traditional ‘Pioneer Card’ header. We altered the cardholder’s name, status and photo here to protect his identity, and we’ve also added an oval and question mark to point out the missing “Pioneer Card” name at the top of the new “after” card.

However, we had more questions for Morris, so a second follow-up e-mail from Morris provided a noticeably different explanation. Rather than being merely an “unfortunate error”,  this time, Morris advised us that DU had in fact “planned to have a smaller number of alternative ID cards printed, which would only say “University of Denver” on the front “in order to offer [cardholders] a choice”…”So there should have been two versions but only the alternative version was produced.” Morris blamed this on what she termed a “communications breakdown”. 

“I am trying, but I’m really struggling to believe the University’s written explanations,“ said LetsGoDU Publisher Tim Thompson. “The Pioneer Card is the ONE piece of identification that all DU people on campus carry that identifies them as Pioneers. While Morris seems to be trying to blame simple administrative incompetence at DU, one can’t help but question whether this action is part of the ongoing pattern to remove the Pioneer name from use. Given the two varying explanations, combined with the Pioneer program name disappearances over the last few months and the previous proven DU administrative dishonesty around the 2017-2018 mask ban, it appears that at least some DU administrators have declared an internal war on our own nickname and identity.” 

Indeed, if the latest excuse from Morris is true — that DU is in fact still planning to offer alternative DU ID cards without the Pioneer Card name in order to further divide our community— this clearly exhibits DU’s discomfort with the Pioneer nickname.  In our view, it’s time for DU to own our Pioneer identity, not run from it! DU doesn’t need ‘alternative’ ID cards. 

First, we’re calling on new DU Chancellor Jeremy Haefner to reverse all of these sneaky yet blatant removals of the Pioneer name by conducting an internal audit to find out immediately if there have been any other approved (or unapproved) Pioneer nickname removals so that they can also be reversed. 

Second, DU should reinstate Pioneer Passage orientation and Pioneer Awards and follow the new approval policy that requires the Chancellor’s Office to rule on any proposed DU name changes that involve “Pioneer.”  No rogue administrators should ever be allowed to tamper with DU’s traditions just because they may have their own anti-Pioneer agenda.

Third, DU should provide one standard Pioneer card, and eliminate alternative designs.

Sadly, at this point, the University’s credibility is on the line once again.

We will report more on this story as updates become available.  Additionally, as always, we here at LetsGoDU will continue our efforts to protect our cherished identity and traditions from the ongoing seditious malfeasance coming from some of DU’s own administrators.