I attended high school in Oklahoma City and chose to attend Southeastern over OU, OSU, and Tulsa. While only a three-hour drive, Durant seemed a world away from Oklahoma City. I gained a great fondness for the campus filled with Magnolia trees, the quirkiness of Bryan County, and the unparalleled friendliness of the community.
However, I am extremely disappointed to learn Southeastern has succumbed to the hypocrisy and political correctness sweeping the nation. The change in the school's nickname is ridiculous. I could understand a minority group finding concern in potentially degrading images and or iconography. Furthermore, I would have no objection to making necessary adjustments to these images, if in fact they are offensive. But, to completely alter the school's nickname is ridiculous and merely an objective of individuals seeking attention. After all, with exception of heterosexual white males, every other group claims to be a victim of some sort of discrimination or civil rights violation.
While I am obviously venting my frustration, I will also attempt to provide resolution; that being common sense. If no Native American iconography is associated with the nickname Savages, where is the harm? Was this considered by President Johnson and others responsible for the name change? While we're on the subject of protected classes and Pres. Johnson, perhaps he can explain why an exorbitant amount of money was spent on cosmetic improvements around his home in the late '90s while handicapped students had difficulty traversing the dilapidated sidewalks on campus? Perhaps because this “problem” didn't attract a great deal of attention, it was merely ignored by the university. My point is this is yet another example that Johnson is a politician holding an educator's position. His loyalty resides not with the students, alumni, or community who greatly support the university, but his own self-interests.
I would like to know where the insanity is going to end. I wonder if Gary England will petition the NCAA claiming he is offended as a meteorologist by the term “Savage Storm?” Will People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals cause a stir over the monikers Buffaloes, Longhorns, Eagles, etc? As we have witnessed, money talks. Florida State's Seminole moniker was removed from the list of schools required to change their nickname to a more politically correct term. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact FSU brings in big bucks to the NCAA, ABC, ESPN, and countless merchandising organizations. Yeah right!
In closing I would like to congratulate President Johnson and the University for setting this precedent. What we can learn is interest groups and those who cherish the role of the victim can easily tarnish the foundation and legacy built by those who came before us. While I am but one individual who will likely have little or no impact on future university endeavors, I will certainly remember this decision when I receive requests for alumni donations. And, I certainly will not be in the stands homecoming weekend cheering for the Savage Storm.
Class of 1999
San Antonio, Texas