MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – After incidents during homecoming festivities lead to the questioning of whether Marquette Senior High School’s (MSHS) use of the nicknames “Redmen” and “Redettes” is appropriate, the Marquette Area Public Schools (MAPS) Board of Education created a committee to research the issue.
This “MSHS Nickname Committee” was tasked over an eight-week period to give a research-based recommendation to the school board on whether or not to change the nicknames.
“Is there any data that suggests, one way or another, what impact potentially a nickname or mascot or those things could potentially have on our school climate and culture?” questioned MAPS Superintendent, Bill Saunders.
Part of the research involved sending an email to the public, which asked three questions: Do the nicknames create an adverse learning environment? Are they culturally insensitive? Are they a source of pride for all MAPS students?
After the research was complete, the committee made a formal recommendation on Dec.16, 2019, to the board to discontinue the use of the nicknames.
The board, however, has not made a decision yet and does not have a timeline for a decision. Saunders adds that a lot of research and discussion needs to happen before a decision can be made.
“We want to make sure that the district moves forward in a positive light. Knowing how controversial this issue is now, we want to make sure that we still have full community support as we move forward,” Saunders said.
The nickname issue is not an item on the board’s Monday night meeting agenda. However, many will utilize the public comment portion of the meeting to discuss their opinions.
“We are one with everybody in this community and we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people that are harmed by this name,” said G.G. Gordon, a Marquette resident who is in favor of the change.
“We think that it’s wrong to invalidate 100 years of using a name because of the use of the logo Chief in the middle years. So what we’d think we’d be able to do, is compromise a solution where we pick a new mascot that can re-brand the name ‘Redmen,’” said MSHS Alum, Kristi Campbell, who opposes the name change.
Saunders adds that the goal isn’t to divide the community over the issue, but rather, come up with a solution with everyone in mind.
“That’s one piece of a process, a bigger process, of the board looking at the climate and culture for our students, and also, harmony in our community,” Saunders said.
You can read the MSHS Nickname Committee’s findings by clicking here.
Click here to check out part one of this two-part series.