SIMON Fraser University is retiring its varsity athletics team name, the Clan, effective Wednesday.
The university initiated a stakeholder engagement process of the team name in January after a poll of student athletes last year indicated strong support for a name change.
Based on the results of the engagement process outlined in a report commissioned by Athletics and Recreation, SFU President Andrew Petter decided to move forward with the name change based on the feedback received from the community — particularly from student athletes, coaches and associated staff.
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 full report is available on the Athletics and Recreation website.
“As a university, our number one duty is to foster a supportive environment for our students,” says Petter. “Our student athletes are dedicated to their sport and education, and negative interactions with others about the persistent misinterpretation or misuse of their team name should not be a burden they have to bear.”
SFU says it continues to be proud of the people, teams and accomplishments associated with the Clan name over the varsity teams’ long history, as well as the Gaelic meaning of the name. The university is now in the process of determining how it will honour the Clan team name as it is retired.
“SFU student athletes are very pleased with the decision to move to a new team name,” says Ryan Stolys, President of the SFU student athlete advisory committee. “This is something that we have been working towards over the last year and we look forward to supporting the process to determine a new team name, so we can proudly represent SFU in all aspects of competing in the NCAA.”
SFU Athletics and Recreation will launch a process this fall to choose a new varsity team name. Key groups within the university community will be involved in that process.
SFU hopes to announce a new athletics team name before the end of this year.
Read President Petter’s full statement to the SFU community.