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After voting 24-3 to eliminate ‘Redskins’ name, Union committee to present its recommendation to school board Monday

After voting 24-3 to eliminate ‘Redskins’ name, Union committee to present its recommendation to school board Monday


On Monday, the Union Board of Education will consider a recommendation to discontinue use of the "Redskins" name for the school district's sports teams.

A committee voted overwhelmingly to eliminate the “Redskins” mascot name from the Union Public Schools athletic department.

For 75 years, Union teams have been known as the “Redskins.” This week, a committee that included Union students, teachers and alumni — several of whom are Native American — voted 24-3 to discontinue the use of a name considered by some to be offensive.

The committee’s recommendation will be presented to the Union Board of Education at 7 p.m. Monday. School board members are expected to vote on whether to accept the recommendation.

“The committee has made a very compelling case for making the change,” Chris Payne, Union’s chief communications officer and the head of the name-change committee, reported in a text message.

If there is approval from the board, Payne said, “the plan is to pause on selecting a new mascot. We plan to be just Union for a while.”

“At some point,” Payne added, “we may reconsider (on a new mascot selection). For now, just Union.”

In July, Union Superintendent Kirt Hartzler said his district revisited its name issue for several months before the NFL’s Washington Football Team made the summer decision to get rid of its controversial “Redskins” name.

“Many, both inside and outside our community, have had conflicting emotions over the years regarding Union’s mascot,” Hartzler said, “and we strongly believe that now is the time to take up this issue once again.”

In a July statement to the Tulsa World, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief David Hill said, “(The Union name) has been addressed before, and it’s been a point of contention at various times through the last several years.

“But what we do now is what’s important, and it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

Since 1994, before the kickoff of football games, Union players would pass through a large teepee and run to their sideline. This year, Union officials decided against using the teepee.

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Sports Columnist

I joined the Tulsa World in 1990. Prior to becoming a sports columnist in 2016, I was the only sports writer in Tulsa World history to have covered OU, OSU, the University of Tulsa and Oral Roberts sports on an everyday basis. Phone: 918-581-8397

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