DU Encourages Students to Target Boone, Pioneer Nickname

Illustration: DU’s IRISE Institute used this poster to promote undergraduate sessions. Note the Denver Boone image filled with arrows and a sign stating, “Decolonization Territory – No Pioneers Allowed”.

A University of Denver institute is teaching DU students to protest against what the institute calls DU’s “historical and present-day oppressive toxic campus environment(s)”, and using Denver Boone and the word “Pioneers” as explicit targets of the online sessions as they “demand institutional change”.

On April 17 and 24, DU’s own Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (in)Equality (IRISE) held virtual Zoom meetings with undergraduates. The stated purpose of the first two sessions was to introduce “students to examples of student resistance, protest, and activism” and featured activists from other campuses.

Teach In

With the full support and funding of the University of Denver administration, DU administrators and professors have moved away from more traditional tools of civil engagement, collaboration and discourse and, essentially, are promoting resistance and protest instead.

IRISE is led by Tom I. Romero, II J.D., Ph.D., and supported by post-doctoral fellows, visiting scholars and affiliated faculty.

EDITORIAL UPDATE:  As of May 1, 2020, the event posters pictured above are no longer displayed on the IRISE web site.

25 thoughts on “DU Encourages Students to Target Boone, Pioneer Nickname”

  1. DU can no longer say they aren’t complicit – they are actually paying these faculty members to agitate the students, promote division and shoot arrows at the culture of the school.

    My feeling is that DU is funding this not only to pander to diverse communities but as a diversionary tactic to keep the students focused on low-hanging fruit like nicknames and mascots, so they won’t focus on oppressive issues like tuition/debt and Title IX/sexual assault.

    I can only imagine that had someone posted a picture of a Native American covered in bullet holes with a sign that said “no Native Americans allowed” there would be howls of rage coming from the diversity community, but apparently its perfectly ok if DU funds this kind of divisive bigotry against Boone and Pioneers.

    Once again, we should be disgusted with DU for this…This is not a good strategy when the school is facing what may be a financial crisis in a post Covid-19 economy.

    1. Your Native American example is specious and lacks historical awareness. The comparison is imbalanced considering the massive genocide against indigenous peoples. To cheer for the image of White settlers seems more similar to the confederate advocates in Southern states defending their statues.

      1. Perhaps you are misreading my analogy…I am certainly not cheering on white settlers or confederate statues.

        First you should know that I majored in history, and I am very aware of the horrible history of genocides perpetrated against Native Americans since the arrival of Columbus. I have been to both Wounded Knee and Sand Creek personally, and I consider myself to be well informed on the very legitimate grievances held by Native populations, especially against the US Gov’t.

        I was commenting on the inflammatory tactic of using any kind of violent imagery to promote a political cause.

  2. I just sent this gentleman an email. Will they ever give up? Apparently not. Romero and his fellow travelers suffer from a severe case of Chicken Little Syndrome.

  3. I just wonder if the rendering of a dead human being covered in arrows is the best message to be sending to students? You ostensibly have faculty with post-graduate degrees saying “this is ok”

  4. Unconscionable! This so called ‘institute’ needs to die a quick death by withdrawal of support and total de-funding from the University.

  5. A school that sees itself as ‘world class’ in Conflict Resolution Studies is taking the low road instead of promoting engagement and positive interactions. This is appaling. And DU is ehausting finite financial resources supporting division instead of promoting the values of unity. One of the most embarrassing things I have ever seen at DU. It would appear that they are willingly engineering their own demise.

  6. I mean how many times to I have to say….again?, seems like about twice a year, Let’s stop this crap and Bring Boone Back!

  7. WE have a new chancellor this time around. Where is he on this issue?. Is he even aware of all the past history ?

    If this nonsense continues it will be time for another E Mail to the Board.

    Our previous Chancellor stated: “Pioneers for ever” Let’s remind him of that commitment.

  8. John:

    The last DU Chancellor to say “We will always be the Pioneers” was Robert Coombe, and he said it all the way back in in 2008. Since then, no DU Chancellor has uttered a public word on the subject – that’s 12 years!

    Rebecca Chopp, DU’s Chancellor from 2014-2019, was anti-Pioneer, tried to change the name internally in private among her senior team in 2018 and the plan backfired when this blog found out about it, and alerted our readers, who fought back hard. She never said anything about it in public, but did allow a back-door e-mail to a selected alumnus to go out (from the DU Chairman of the Board, not her) that (that we reprinted) which said there was no name change planned. It was the only way she could call our dogs off without saying it herself. She hired most of the current anti-Pioneer staff agitators, although a number of the senior ones have left DU (or are leaving) DU since then.

    The current Chancellor since 2019, Jeremy Haefner, has indicated privately to some well-connected alums that he has no plan to change the nickname either, but his administration has since eliminated the nickname in a lot of public places (freshman orientation, senior awards, etc.). He’s also funding this IRISE group, who is out to train the students to push back against it.

    The moral of the story – watch not just what they say, it’s what they do.

    Right now, they like to play both sides of this fence.

    It’s up to us to speak up.

  9. Such a bunch of garbage. Intelligent bunch too, who can’t figure out the appropriate use of whose vs. who’s… as in “whose university” not “who’s university”. Brilliant.

  10. Quote from the great Howard Beale in the movie Netowork:

    “So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!”

  11. The comment by spineless is on track but not quite on mark. Its cover of all the COVID-19 chaos thats allowing this small group led by Romero to try and pull this off. The Interim Provost and Chancellor and Board have no time to deal with this bull shit, they are working on keeping DU afloat .

    So the IRISE gang jumps at an opportunity. The current IRISE gang had history of questionable agenda (search IRISE RAGE PODCAST) like promoting Saira Rao. Point being, make protest known to the Chancellor and Provost (incoming and interim) and most of all advancement . This crap is not supported by wide swaths of the university as IRISE or this BLOG assumes.

    another note, this blog use to rip on Coombe, particularly the founder, Now he is the good old days, just sayin. I have been following this site a long time. Season ticket holder since ’99. Usually just chime in on hockey, as there isn’t much else on this blog I care about (but I’m locked up at home, so what the hell else am I going to do)

    I hope you are all doing as well as possible in these crazy times !

  12. The University has really lost its way and it truly is sad. More and more I am of the belief that the entire undergraduate system should be blown up nationwide and a meat and bones system should take it’s place, with areas such as this nonsense being the first to go. This isn’t teaching young people to think critically when their ideas are challenged but rather to teach them that whining and making a fuss will get you what you want. This does not serve as a means for young people to better themselves and make their labor more valuable to a future employer. We severely need to hold these mega-successful universities accountable by no longer guaranteeing federal student loans. These naive kids don’t realize the worthlessness of what they are participating in until they graduate into the real world with an absurd amount of debt and no tangible skills.

    DU is merely one of the many universities where freedom of thought and expression go to die. Social justice is the creed, not education. Glad I got the STEM education I did, but I will not financially support DU any further (haven’t been since Chopp started) until they cut the crap and focus on education first.

    1. Piojack
      out of curiosity, what STEM degree did you get. Buried in my comment was the fact that this shit is NOT pervasive in current curricula, as much as the hyped IRISE propaganda makes it seem.

      Now is the opportune time for ‘them’ to pull it off, as there is way bigger issues.

  13. To those of you who received the email from Chancellor Haefner, Subject Coronavirus & DU-Update April 29, 2020, you can see the plan he has laid out for the next several months. He is forming 5 task forces that will make recommendations in various areas on how to deal with the crisis.

    A response to his email at: chancellor@du.edu could include your opinions on the Pioneer name. In addition you might want to cover all issues you might have with IRISE and the university’s funding & recognition of this radical group.

    I did, and hope you will too.

  14. Same small group of attention starved people who have been pushing their agenda. Would be surprised if the university is supporting this kind of harmful rhetoric and imagery. Let the chancellor know how offensive it is. I did. Again, DU is confronted with the question of do they want to support like 25 people who propogate this kind of garbage, or do they want the support the thousands of alumni who would think the university is garbage for supporting groups like this? Gotta get your own voice heard. And it is amazing to me what a docile world we live in, where debating garbage like whether a Pioneer a proper nickname passes for activism.

  15. Not a wise business decision by the University or its faculty in times of historic pandemic to start pissing off the alumni and Denver community.

    Responded to the Chancellor’s letter with my opinion.

  16. Look into the scope of The Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (In)Equality (IRISE)… there are a number of Interdisciplinary Research (Academic) Institutes and globally
    Boonie’s scalp is relatively insignificant – ex-post facto self-actualizing campus fodder – as compared to this institutes scope and referred to “off-campus partners” likely of non-profit nonpartisan 526 limited liability policy centers, institutes, think tanks, etc.
    Peruse IRISE extensive study topics, engagements, etc., hardly Clarion. Among other hallmark terms is that of stakeholder. Might other alum be familiar with another ‘trending’ term ? Stakeholder Capitalism, Justice, etc and the battle royal against above said purveyors of (Pioneer) nonsense – academic and globally

    1. You can look askance at IRISE all you want, but the group is fully funded by DU, and the leader of it, Dr. Romero, was just featured as one of five or six people representing the whole University at its recent online town hall meeting.

      Clearly, DU is using this entity to hold itself accountable to diversity interests.

      I have a strong feeling that things are once again moving in a negative direction again for Pioneer fans…

  17. You would think that our new Chancellor ,having a technical back ground and coming from a similar technically oriented school would see through this socialistic nonsense .

    Maybe he does and chooses to let it ride. If so ,shame on you chancellor.

    When I was an engineering student the campus was alive with positive ,you can do attitude. Now all I read is negative “it’s a bad country that needs correction”.

    Get your hands on this negativity or go back east.

  18. Glad my kid graduated a few years ago…I wouldn’t allow my next kid to DU due to the continued liberal brainwashing…so off to another college….I will continue to wear my Boone gear anytime I’m on campus and to hockey…

  19. Well this is interesting, announced today:

    Tom Romero, associate professor of law and affiliated faculty with the Department of History, has agreed to step in and serve as our next interim vice chancellor, effective July 1, 2020

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