Simon Fraser University drops the ‘Clan’ as sports team name

Simon Fraser University drops the ‘Clan’ as sports team name

VANCOUVER — Varsity sports teams at Simon Fraser University will soon have a new name after the school’s president announced it is retiring the ’Clan’ moniker following a community engagement process.

In a letter, Andrew Petter says student views were the most important factor influencing the decision to change the Clan name, which is a nod to the Scottish heritage of the school’s namesake.

A report from the athletics department says a survey of community members showed the name’s association with the American white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan was harmful to students.

Petter says students shared stories of unsafe situations and upsetting conversations stemming from misinterpretation or misuse of the name derived from a Gaelic term for a close-knit group of relatives.

Simon Fraser is the only Canadian university affiliated with the U.S.-Based National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, and the report says the old team name was inappropriate in that context, while it was also at odds with the school’s efforts to promote reconciliation.

The process to choose a new team is expected to will wrap up by the end of the year, with athletes competing under the names Simon Fraser or SFU in the meantime.

“As we move away from using the Clan as our team name, I want to stress that we continue to be exceedingly proud of the people, teams and accomplishments associated with the Clan over our long history. The Gaelic word for family was chosen to honour friendship, loyalty and connection, commitments that remain deeply ingrained at SFU,” Petter wrote in his letter.

The report says student athletes and coaches have reported shock, shame, misunderstanding, taunts and threats in connection to the Clan team name over the years.

An associate professor at the university started a petition to change the name out of respect for athletes in the United States in 2017 and two students launched another effort earlier this year. That petition garnered nearly 14,000 signatures before Petter announced his decision on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vaping persists amongst Canadian youth

New survey into vaping habits of youth

UPDATED: Red Deer has nine active COVID-19 cases

Number of cases increased by 107 Friday

Man sentenced to 7 years for gas-and-dash death of Alberta gas station owner

Ki Yun Jo was killed after Mitchell Sydlowski sped off in a stolen cube van without paying for $198 of fuel

Skydivers raise money for Kids Cancer Care at Innisfail Airport

A group of Albertans proved they would go to new heights to… Continue reading

Notley to stay on as Alberta NDP leader for 2023 provincial election

The NDP took almost all of Edmonton but few seats outside of the city

Hay’s Daze: Happy to be left out of the picture

Talk about being out of the loop. Head in the sand. Uninformed,… Continue reading

O’Toole, Blanchet both test positive for COVID-19 Friday, remain in isolation

OTTAWA — Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has tested positive for COVID-19. O’Toole… Continue reading

COVID-19 task force worries Trump’s rush to approve vaccine will spook Canadians

OTTAWA — Members of the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine task force are… Continue reading

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

VANCOUVER — Health care workers in Canada made up about 20 per… Continue reading

Hurricane Teddy remains on track for Atlantic Canada, expected as tropical storm

HALIFAX — Hurricane Teddy remains on track to pass through wide areas… Continue reading

Trump to Senate: Vote ‘without delay’ on his high court pick

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Saturday urged the Republican-run Senate to… Continue reading

Vancouver Whitecaps fighting for playoff position on U.S. road trip

Vancouver Whitecaps fighting for playoff position on U.S. road trip

Toronto FC expects to play six games in home away from home in East Hartford

Toronto FC expects to play six games in home away from home in East Hartford

Most Read