Simon Fraser University will be retiring its varsity athletics team name, The Clan, following a number of student athletes calling for a name change.
The name has been the centre of controversy in recent years and the change follows feedback from students who said they have experienced unsafe situations, upsetting conversations, and other harm.
The “Clan” name is shortened from “Clansmen,” and was introduced roughly 55 years ago in connection to Scottish fur trader and explorer Simon Fraser.
But the title is misinterpreted as a reference to the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan by many.
“As a university, our number one duty is to foster a supportive environment for our students,” Andrew Petter, university president, said in a news release Wednesday (Aug. 12).
“Our student athletes are dedicated to their sport and education, and negative interactions with others about the persistent misinterpretation or misuse of their team name should not be a burden they have to bear.”
In a statement, SFU student athlete advisory committee president Ryan Stolys said students are looking forward to developing a new name that “proudly represent SFU in all aspects of competing in the NCAA.”
SFU officials said they hope to announce a new athletics team name before the end of this year and will be planning a way to “honour” the outgoing name.
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