Denver public gives giant thumbs down to DU’s nickname meddling by 100-1 ratio

The Denver public has spoken loudly, and they clearly don’t want DU to mess with the Pioneer nickname — by a 100-to-1 ratio.

For a University that wants more engagement with the local metro area as a high strategic plan priority, this firm rebuke of DU’s recent efforts to erase the Pioneer name should provide quite a clear roadmap of how NOT to win public favor.

A Channel 7 Denver 360 TV news report gave us our first chance to measure local public reaction to DU’s recent efforts to erase the Pioneer nickname on the DU Campus. And there was an overwhelming reaction on the station’s Twitter and Facebook pages, supporting the Pioneer nickname by a ratio of nearly 100-to-1.

While the public pro-Pioneer sentiments included a blizzard of derogatory and quite frankly inappropriate “snowflake”  references, there were a few gems of public insight that DU should think about carefully.  For example, Facebook reader Mary Virginia Sotiros called it, “The eroding of the traditions to gain control over our thinking and eventually, our will to control our own lives.” Another Facebook reader, Lee Darter, said, “Why is it in this country that the few that scream the loudest are the only ones heard?” Perhaps Facebook commenter Jean Ridl said it best: “If we erase our history, we’re bound to repeat it.”

DU’s stated Vision is “The University of Denver will be a great private university dedicated to the public good.”

Well, the anti-Pioneer effort, led by a handful of insiders working against the 2018 decision of the DU Board of Trustees, is clearly not welcomed by the public.

Quite the opposite.

The main objections LetsGoDU has to the Channel 7 segment was the pervasive use of western Pioneer imagery (i.e., the unofficial Boone logo in the street polling and Boone clips) in the piece as well as Channel 7’s somewhat crude efforts at street polling.

As we all know, DU does not produce any merchandise promoting western Pioneers (settlers) images, nor are there any statues of western Pioneer symbols around campus. In a part of the interview not used by Denver7, LetsGoDU managing editor Nick Tremaroli explained that “the University has already removed all western imagery” in a reference to Boone’s unofficial capacity as a mascot and as a logo. The use and interpretation of the Pioneer nickname on campus are not about ‘conquest’ or ‘appropriation’. That argument – held by many anti-Pioneer advocates who have likely never even been on DU’s campus – falls flat.

The reaction of local readers and viewers provides a rather large piece of evidence that DU leadership needs to reaffirm the institutional commitment to the Pioneer nickname and move on to much more critical issues impacting campus life by improving student interaction on campus, managing tuition costs, building unity, enhancing school spirit and engagement, and upgrading the school’s academic performance and national rankings.

8 thoughts on “Denver public gives giant thumbs down to DU’s nickname meddling by 100-1 ratio”

  1. The three largest constituencies DU has – the public, DU alumni and DU sports fans, are all fervently pro-Pioneer. If DU tries to go against these large headwinds, chances are they will fail…

  2. DU’s administration continues to destroy the Pioneer Brand by failing to protect the legacy of the founders & builders of Colorado, Denver & DU.

    98% of our alumni favor the Pioneer name. It appears that 98% of Channel 7 viewers support the Pioneer name. DU needs to double down on the Pioneer name and fire the malcontent administrators that are dragging DU through the mud.

    You don’t see OU backing away from the “Sooner” nickname, Wyoming the “Cowboy” monikier. Or Texas Tech as the “Red Raiders.”

    Embrace the name & Bring Back Boone. Then and only then, will you regain the trust & support of our alumni.

    I’m proud to be a DU Pioneer alum.

  3. This is a pretty simple one. DU lots of other issues to manage – tuition, capital campaign, student unity, community relations. This issue could be put to bed easily. Let’s hope the new Chancellor can step up and affirm the nickname and move on. Chancellor Chopp made a clear statement to the group Divest DU on fossil fuel investment and it silenced the effort. Anytime there is a vacuum of leadership – it will be filled – sometimes by tricks and deception.

  4. The DU admin could not be SO stupid, so as to harm its public image, create a huge controversy, and subject itself to ridicule, just to satisfy some people in the “inclusive excellence” office. Right??? If the new chancellor has any foresight, he’ll shut this effort down immediately before it engulfs the school and DU loses all alumni and public support.

  5. It’s actually not simple. DU’s leaders are caught in a painful vise of their own making. The DU leadership recruited and hired the IE people and at least let them (or perhaps encouraged them?) to run roughshod on our traditions. Then, alums and fans like us started fighting back, and you are asking DU to choose their loyalties. I think their duplicitous nature would rather play to both sides of the fence…That said, the fact that the University actually did tweet out a picture of “1500 Pioneers” tonight https://twitter.com/UofDenver/status/1169044575022792705 is perhaps a sign that the tide may be starting to turn in a good direction? I am hopeful that our message is being received….

  6. I’m a Denver native but not an alumni. Growing up, DU was MY school. It had my town’s name on it. It was a big deal around town. Now I don’t recall even seeing a sign on I25, University Blvd, nor Buchtel. Cheap advertising given the thousands of cars passing by each and every day.
    I remember the debacle a few years ago when the administration sent out a survey regarding a mascot change. I remember they had an elk, a mountain climber, a jackalope….What a joke. So worried about being perceived as PC, they insult the very citizens who want to cheer for their home town team and students.
    Ruckus the bird was a stunning success too. How about the ameba looking bird logo used for a while? Then there was the “Shield” campaign that didn’t go anywhere.
    I know of no other school with an invisible mascot. All the while, old school season ticket holders continue to wear racoon caps, shirts, jerseys and pins. Students have posters and a huge banner. They could make so much money selling Boone gear at the arena, but their chutzpah gets in the way.

    1. Don’t forgot the robot! If I remember correctly that was a six figure waste of a study. Love that du continues to get in there own way with this

  7. I emailed our new chancellor 10 days ago asking him questions about the status of the Pioneer name. His lack of a response and continued silence speaks volumes.
    Maybe ceasing my substantial donations will get his attention. Probably not.

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