TULSA, Okla. — The Union Public Schools Board of Education unanimously voted Monday evening to discontinue the use of a controversial mascot and logo.
After two months of study, the committee recommended a change, with 88.9 percent voting in favor of dropping the Redskins mascot. Without question, this name is one that has become increasingly divisive. For many, it has been a symbol of pride, honor and tradition. For others, it has caused pain. We received an overwhelming number of requests from Union insiders calling for change. With a name like Union, we can’t hang on to things that cause division.
Union’s board last considered the mascot issue 17 years ago during the 2002-03 school year. Then, the board decided to keep the name.
Union officials established a committee to review the district's mascot in July 2020. After Superintendent Harzler's recommendation, the board approved the creation of a non-standing board committee, which includes students, alumni and tribal members to review the district’s continued use of a controversial logo and mascot.
“Our committee spent a significant amount of time in discussion and research relating to Union’s mascot,” said Chris Payne, chairman of the committee and Chief Communications Officer for the district. “This decision is not one that was made easily or lightly. Outside of Union circles, the name is widely considered an offensive term. Inside Union, there has also been a significant shift in thinking among alumni, parents and students, and the call for change grew considerably in volume. We knew it was time to revisit this name.”
Hartzler said the district will need time to fully implement the change, but he expects this would happen by Aug. 1, 2021.
The board did not vote on a new mascot. Hartzler said for now, they’re just Union.
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