McGill University and its students have been in what seemed like a never-ending battle over the name of their men's varsity sports leagues. Many students have been pushing the university to change the name of their varsity sports team, which was the Redmen because it is seen as discriminatory to the First Nations community. It was finally announced today that McGill University will be changing the name of its sports teams.
In 2017, a university task force on Indigenous studies and Indigenous education released a report that listed multiple recommendations to make McGill University a more accepting place when it came to the First Nation community. In this report, it was highlighted that the university should change the name of the Varsity sports team, Redmen, as it was seen as discriminatory.
Since then, multiple student protests broke out over the name and an online petition to change the name gained over 10,000 signatures. In October, the Montreal Gazette reported that hundreds of students even stood out in the rain to protest against the McGill Redmen name.
However, the University has been reluctant to change the name that has been around since the late 1920s. According to CBC the university previously had stated that the name Redmen referred to the colours that were worn by the team and had no affiliation with the First Nation community.
Despite those claims from the university, unofficial nicknames and symbols were brought to life from the fans throughout the years that were discriminatory towards First Nations. The term 'Indians' was often used to refer to the team and in the mid-60s the women's team was referred to as the 'Squaws'.
Now, after years of protesting and petitions, McGill University has finally announced this morning that they will change the name of the Redmen team.
Today, many Canadians have taken to Twitter to celebrate the name change.
In a press release from McGill University this morning, Principal Suzanne Fortier states that she has taken time in the past few months to consider the opinions that the students have been raising and has decided that Redmen is not a name that the university should move forward with.
Moving forward, a committee will be created to begin the process of choosing a new name for the McGill men's varsity teams.