Burnaby, BC- There are now two university sports teams in Canada without a team name. Simon Fraser University is dropping the “Clan” nickname effective immediately and will begin the process of finding a new name in Sept.
The change comes after dozens of student-athletes and faculty pressured the school to drop the name, which was commonly misinterpreted as relating to the American white supremisict group, the Klu Klux Klan.
In a media release, the school spoke of the factors that led to dropping the 55-year old nickname. “The primary factor contributing to the decision was the well-being of student athletes, many of whom reported that the current name had caused them to experience unsafe situations, upsetting conversations and other harm,” the statement read.
Although the name refers to the Scottish “Clan,” playing in the NCAA, the American collegiate conference led to the common misinterpretation of “Klan.”
Calls to change the name first began in 2017, and were amplified by the current drive for social justice following the police murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. For years, activists have pressured schools, pro sports teams and mascots to drop racist interpretation, and SFU is the latest to change. Western Canada also saw the Edmonton Football Team forgo the “Eskimos” name, a term that is offensive towards the Inuit.
SFU are now the second team in Canada without a team name, joining McGill University, who dropped “Redmen” in 2019. McGill and SFU are not in the same collegiate athletic conference.