The past weeks have been excruciating ones for the University of Denver community, as the behavior of DU administrators created a deep gash in the University’s relationship with many of its alumni and fans. The senior DU administrators’ dishonest mascot policy and its arrogant implementation banning Boone, the insidious plan to drop the Pioneer name and replace it with “Trailblazers”, and the maddeningly slow, often tone-deaf reaction of university officials once exposed, were all damaging. Just as damaging in the long term, however, is the University’s failure to present us with any kind of problem recognition, contrition or roadmap for improvement. Continue reading The five culture traits DU must correct to earn back our trust
Our Crimson and Gold-tinted nightmare appears to have made a major breakthrough: There will be no nickname change. According to University of Denver Board chair Doug Scrivner, ‘Pioneers’ is here to stay.
In an email reply to a concerned alumnus that Scrivner gave permission to share with everyone, and which we’ve quoted below, Scrivner explained that despite the recent controversy, the nickname will remain.
The University has also changed its web site:
We now consider the Pioneer name officially “safe” for now.
Read Scrivner’s email below: Continue reading BREAKING: DU Board Chair Doug Scrivner confirms that DU will keep Pioneer Nickname
LetsGoDU has learned from several sources that the “Trailblazers” name was to have been a key thematic element in Chancellor Rebecca Chopp’s upcoming State of the University speech. Our sources have also indicated that the “Trailblazers” concept was not only a speech theme but was likely the intended seed of a Trojan horse replacement for DU’s 93-year-old nickname “Pioneers”.
In the days since we exposed DU’s recent mask policy as a politically-motivated tool intended largely to ban the unofficial mascot Denver Boone from campus, the University’s honesty and intentions regarding our 93-year old nickname “Pioneers” have also come into serious question. Our sources tell us that while the administration disdained the word “Pioneers” as traditional and western, they saw the concept of “Trailblazers” as being an acceptable replacement.
It seems that DU’s senior leaders were not only actively working to slice DU from its western traditions, they were doing it through a covert web of lies, deception, and disdain for DU’s largest constituency – its alumni. Indeed, the malfeasance of senior leadership daily continues to draw DU into further disrepute.
We have written previously about Renell Wynn, DU’s Vice Chancellor for Communications, who advised key alumni of the so-called “mask” policy only AFTER the policy was a fait accompli – already approved by members of the Board of Trustees. Wynn’s use of “safety” as her cover story for the policy backfired when Don Enloe, DU’s Director of Campus Safety, admitted to the Denver Post that other schools’ mascots would be allowed inside Magness Arena (while Denver Boone would be banned from his home arena by the policy). Interestingly, we haven’t heard a single quote or release from Wynn since this story broke, and she’s Vice-Chancellor for Communications. Hmmm…
We also have drawn into doubt the credibility of Dr. Liliana Rodriguez and Dr. Frank Tuitt, the “inclusive excellence” leaders who co-authored the “smoking gun” anti-Boone letter of January 2017, which assured students that “procedures” were being created to eliminate Boone. It is also important to note that in the original version of the “mask” policy posted in late December 2017 on the DU website, Rodriguez’s office was to be the contact point for requesting exceptions to the policy — until the exception language mysteriously disappeared in an Orwellian puff of smoke before January 1, 2018.
Rodriguez also likely had a key role in encouraging her staff to work with student groups such as Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and the Native Student Association (NSA) to create new mascots and to actively campaign against the Pioneer nickname, respectively. By actively promoting disunity and division, such acts were over-reaching, manipulative and wedge-driving. Indeed, such activities appear to be less those of “inclusive excellence” and more those of “exclusive insolence”.
Now, we also question the credibility of Ed Rowe, the Chancellor’s Director of Special Projects, whose e-mail replies to angry alumni have further eroded trust. Indeed, the inauthentic form e-mails and awkward language in his some of his talking points are suggestive of obfuscation, rather than honesty.
- Ed Rowe Talking Point: “That [nickname] rumor is false”
That’s an incomplete statement if we’ve ever seen one. Are the Chancellor and Board of Trustees committed to the identity “Denver Pioneers” going forward or not?
- Ed Rowe Talking Point: “The Chancellor and Board have affirmed our use of Pioneers”
It is obvious to anyone that the words “have affirmed” is in the past tense. And what does the phrasing “use of Pioneers” mean? Does it mean we have “used” the term in the past, but it may be changing now? What we need to know is, are we Pioneers going forward or not?
- Ed Rowe Talking Point: “DU is proud of the ways our faculty conduct pioneering research and pave the way in student-centered education focused on the public good”
Here ‘pioneer’ is being used as a verb, suggesting that while we are being ‘pioneering’, we may not be ‘Pioneers’. Not only does this avoid the question of commitment to Pioneers, it actually appears to be laying a path to the concept of being ‘Trailblazers’ rather than ‘Pioneers.’ We aren’t asking about research. We are asking: Are we Pioneers going forward or not?
- Ed Rowe Talking Point: “Denver Pioneers create new companies and nonprofits, they find new solutions to complex problems and they are committed to making the world a better place.”
Can you please answer our questions instead of trying to snow us with platitudes? DU must think we’re children! What we want to know is: Are we Pioneers now and forever?
Finally, where have the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees been while key senior team members have been running a harmful agenda, creating disingenuous policies, avoiding the alumni, trying to erase the western history from our traditions and writing meaningless and obfuscating communications?
We deserve better than this, DU. We entrust our leaders to provide stewardship, honesty, and competence. And there can be no grey area where it concerns honesty.
According to the DU website, “All members of the University of Denver are expected to uphold the values of Integrity, Respect, and Responsibility. These values embody the standards of conduct for students, faculty, staff, and administrators as members of the University community.
“Our [DU] values are defined as:
* Integrity: acting in an honest and ethical manner;
* Respect: honoring differences in people, ideas, and opinions;
* Responsibility: accepting ownership for one’s own conduct.”
As engaged alumni, we’ve observed what may be lot of potential violations of these values.
DU, you have let us down.
Now is the time for alumni and fans to let our school know where we stand on this issue.
We wrote on Thursday, January 11th about the collusion between DU senior leadership, staff members, and student groups to ban unofficial mascot Denver Boone and to potentially also change the school nickname from ‘Pioneers’ to ‘Trailblazers’. Yesterday, a source provided us with a copy of a January 2017 letter which is a “smoking gun” proving that this collusion reached to the highest levels of the University. We’ve provided this handy chart that outlines the key players in the scheme, and what we know to be true so far about their roles. Continue reading BREAKING: Letter confirms collusion at highest levels of DU: Who did it?
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. Continue reading BREAKING: Trailblazers? DU Administration colluded with key student groups and staff on groundwork for name/mascot change
As we enter the second week of our vigorous defense of our school identity, it’s a good time to take stock of where we are and what difference you, our readers, are making.
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): Continue reading Sneaky new DU Campus Safety Policy effectively bans Boone mascot costume from DU campus
As a key voice in Pioneer Nation, LetsGoDU promised we’d have more to say about the DU Native Student Association’s (“NSA”) recent decision to create a “NoMorePios” campaign in an attempt to sever DU from its 92-year old identity, tradition, and nickname, the Pioneers. Continue reading The Case for ‘Denver Pioneers’
Homecoming weekend is soon to arrive on the University of Denver campus. It’s a wonderful time to see DU friends, walk the campus in its fall glory, cheer on the top-ranked DU hockey team and celebrate the bonds we all share as fellow Pioneers. From the newest first-year students who have been a part of our community for only a few weeks, to the oldest alumnus or DU fan, we’re all part of a pretty big family. How big? Well, there are about 11,600 students, 1,300 faculty and 1,700 staff on campus, but the DU community is much, much larger when you include the 100,000+ living DU alumni around the world, the parents and families of our students, and the many others who choose to support our school, including DU’s neighbors, its sports fans, its donors and event attendees. Continue reading Defining identity at the University of Denver