Feb 022010
Authors: Dan Gearhart, Paul Kowalczyk, Blanche Hughes

Colorado State University is committed to enhancing diversity in all its forms to ensure an educational environment that is reflective of our society and upholds the right of all members of our community to be treated with respect, dignity and humanity. We strive to embrace and reflect this commitment across all areas of the university, including at athletic events.

Earlier this week, there was a short-lived, student-led Facebook effort encouraging students to “dress up like Indians” and attend Saturday’s CSU vs. Wyoming men’s basketball game. This was not a university-approved or sanctioned event in any way, but we have heard from a number of students, faculty, staff and alumni who were sincerely offended by the proposed event.

We appreciate that the student removed this proposed idea from the Facebook page, and we also appreciate the many students who have stepped up to make it clear this is not what CSU is all about. Students are now joining together to urge everyone to attend the game dressed in orange to support the Rams, who will be wearing throwback uniforms with Aggie colors.

Unfortunately, in some online discussions, it remains clear that a number of individuals do not realize why the originally proposed event theme was so deeply insulting to many members of our campus and the larger community. Although for some this apparently seemed like a fun and harmless way to support the Rams, it is not. Perpetuating cartoonish cultural stereotypes and co-opting the costume and culture of people who have historically been oppressed is very offensive, hurtful and dehumanizing.

It is an affront to the Native American members of our community, to our community at large and to the players who are working so hard for a Rams win ­­–– and it’s certainly not reflective of the values of the larger student body nor of the culture and values of this institution.

We encourage you to continue to represent CSU with class and integrity and not participate in this or similar inappropriate activities. We do hope you will turn out to support the Rams at Saturday’s game and fill Moby Arena with CSU green and Aggie orange.

If you would like to learn more about diversity efforts at CSU, please visit www.diversity.colostate.edu for access to a wealth of resources. Additional information is available online about Department of Ethnic Studies at ethnicstudies.colostate.edu and the Native American Cultural Center at www.nacc.colostate.edu.
Thank you,

Blanche Hughes, Vice President for Student Affairs and Acting Vice President for Diversity

Paul Kowalczyk, Director of Athletics
Dan Gearhart, President of Associated Students of CSU_

 Posted by at 5:57 pm

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