Simon Fraser University has announced a new name for its various athletics teams, two years after agreeing to drop the old moniker “Clan” in the face of student outcry.
Starting this week, SFU athletes will compete under the banner of the Red Leafs, a name that matches the maple leaf design worn for generations by university teams.
Theresa Hanson, SFU’s senior director of sport and recreation, said it was decided after an extensive consultation process, focused on finding a name that “does not cause harm”.
“As a university, our number one mission is to foster a supportive environment,” said Hanson. “So it’s time to change the name.”
While the Clan name was intended as a name for the university to coincide with Simon Fraser’s Scottish heritage, officials previously acknowledged the discomfort and embarrassment it had caused students, especially the Black athletes represent the college at games in America.
Former SFU basketball player Othniel Spence has launched a petition to remove the old team’s name, sharing the shock he felt as a Black student when he first heard the crowd. chant, “Go Clan.” The petition was signed by nearly 14,000 people.
Hanson noted that some student-athletes had raised concerns in the past, which prompted the university to hire an independent advisory body to review Clan name usage in January 2020. .
The agency’s report found that name concerns and perceptions of “links to Klu Klux Klan racism” were consistent and widespread, showing growing support for the change. through numerous polls, surveys and petitions dating back many years.
“I am proud that the university is moving forward under the name Red Leafs,” SFU president Joy Johnson said in a statement.
“After a lot of consultation, we’ve heard it’s a name everyone in our community can be proud of and I can’t wait to cheer on our team together. “
Red Leafs will debut their new look at a launch party at SFU’s Convocation Mall on Thursday.
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Spencer Harwood