"The Clan" Simon Fraser University Needs a New Name
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Extended History on The SFU Team Name; Clansman (And Variations of):
Simon Fraser University’s Team name is the Simon Fraser Clan and formally the Simon Fraser Clansmen, which is supposed to be inspired by Scottish heritage. The name was inspired by the fact that Simon Fraser (The person the university is named after) was of Scottish descent. This aside, the unfortunate and prominent North American History behind the name “Clansman” (and variations of this name) is harsh and racist. To further explain, the first blockbuster Hollywood movie hit to come out was called “The Birth of a Nation.” This movie sparked the rebirth of the KKK and lynching activity in the USA after it was premiered. The movie was made from the book called “ The Clansman” which has the same narrative involving the KKK. The implications of the political and social realm behind this history and era have directly affected Black communities to this day on several levels. The worrisome part about this is it puts SFU’s NCAA Athletes at risk when in the states but it also undermines North American Black history regarding lynching, the KKK, segregation, and more.
Below we will list our concerns about the SFU team name in a short manner. What we demand is that SFU will be able to initiate important and mandatory change and dialogue surrounding an urgent name change. We respectfully encourage and demand action at this time.
Considerations on the following SFU’s team name:
- It Puts Students and NCAA Athletes at risk: https://globalnews.ca/news/3766060/sfu-prof-says-clan-team-name-should-change-puts-student-athletes-at-risk/
- It is understandable that the SFU Clansmen or Clans were supposed to be represented by Simon Fraser’s Scottish heritage.
- Furthermore, several athletes have had countless encounters when on road trips with fans and strangers, as well as encounters with their family members where athletes have felt embarrassed as others question their decision-making by attending the university (Specifically due to the team name and its negative connotations).
- With Our Current Social and Political Sphere - Would Our Members be in More of a Risk in the Future?
- In our current social sphere in 2020, we are being compliant and ignorant to the Black community’s struggle with ongoing racism and maltreatment when it comes to institution discourse and name-making
- Reform and dismantling needs to occur
- What are the implications of our further ignorance with the current strong social sphere we are in right now?
- What happens when our players travel in the future to the United States with a team name like our current name? Especially with the unforgiving social sphere, we are in right now (I support the “unforgiving” social sphere)?
- Undermines the Longlasting History Behind the North American Association to the Name
- Shows the lack of acknowledgement to Black History in America and Canada and therefore lacking support to Black and Colored communities or members of SFU
- Forcing Black/Colored members and White allies to be compliant of the name regardless of a well known and ignored history of the implementations of the Literature, Cinematics, and Political sphere surrounding the discourse of the “Clansman” and variations of the word
- Ignores the Support regarding the Change of the Name
- 77% ruled in supporting a change to the name in 2017
- It is now 2020 - 3 years later and no change has been made and the topic has not been addressed publicly
- Last summer (Summer 2019), the student-athletes' advisory committee conducted a survey of 246 returning athletes. They were asked, "should SFU initiate the process to change the team name?" Of the 163 people who responded, 125 were in favour, 25 opposed and 13 abstained, said Stolys. (https://www.cbc.ca/sports/simon-fraser-survey-clan-1.5616751_
- From this point on, it was stated that further research would be done on the matter but no updates were given
- Undermines the Black, POC and Ally Community and Gives Them No Other Option Than to Represent the Name
- SFU is Canada’s only NCAA School. While participating in sports, SFU’s Athletes feel a mental and social burden while representing the name. Several of them have been criticized for joining the team based on the name
- Very disrespectful to the Black community of SFU Athletes who feel more of a burden having to represent a name that has caused a large amount of trauma to their communities and have systematically affected their lives
- May trigger trauma for athletes who are recruited from The United States and who have experienced white nationalism, white supremacy, or are aware of the KKK.
Nonetheless, this can also affect anyone else who has experienced racism, prejudice, or any other form of discrimination based on race.
We support and request that the name change occurs before the end of this current semester. This will display the care and urgency SFU characterizes themselves with in regards to community engagement. We urge you to take a stance and action in solidarity.
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