Representatives from the Native American community were on hand to express their displeasure with the resurrection of Eastern Michigan University’s Huron logo on the new Marching Band uniforms and various university paraphernalia at the Board of Regents meeting Oct. 30 in Welch Hall.
Zhaawanong Nimkii Kuew and Linda Cypret-Kilbourne went before the board on behalf of the Michigan Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media. Cypret-Kilbourne spoke passionately against the use of the logo.
“Hiding the race-based logo inside the uniform does not change it’s meaning,” she said. “It makes it more offensive and shows the Native American community your true colors.”
Cypret-Kilbourne accused EMU president Susan Martin and the university of insensitivity and racism.
“We are a living race of people, here and now, so why do we have to be insulted in this manner today?” she said.
She also said the logo was used without any consultation from local Native American groups. She demanded that the logo be removed from use.
Glen Qualls also spoke on behalf of the Native American community against the use of the Huron logo.
“What you do when you take the name, that’s identity theft,” Qualls said. “You argue ‘We’re honoring you,’ to me, that reeks of white privilege.”
Qualls said the use of the logo was damaging to the Native American culture.
“The destruction of that culture is genocide,” he said.
In a statement, EMU Executive Director of Media Relations Geoff Larcom said, “Eastern Michigan University’s mascot and logo has been the Eagles for more than 20 years, and we are not changing. Swoop is alive and well.”
Matthew Norfleet, EMU’s student body president, presented several highlights of the work of
Student Government throughout the semester, including the goal of low to no cost AATA bus passes for the student body.
Matthew Evett, president of the EMU Faculty Senate, updated the board on recent workings of the organization, including updating the nomenclature of degrees. Previously, the baseline degree was a Bachelor of Science, with a Bachelor of Art requiring further coursework and an application.
“This has led to many of our students receiving nonsensical degrees such as a Bachelor of Science in English, Bachelor of Art in Physics and my personal favorite, a Bachelor of Science in Art,” Evett said.
Evett said the Faculty Senate has worked with the office of the provost to alter the requirements for the degrees, to alleviate the issue.
In her report to the board, EMU President Susan Martin shared her excitement about the newly completed science complex.
“The new facility is the largest construction project in Eastern Michigan history,” Martin said. “It’s truly a game changer in terms of our ability to educate students in the STEM – science, technology, engineering and math areas, that are critical to the state and to our nation.”
Martin also said she would continue to seek funding for Strong Hall to complete Phase III of the science complex project.
The board also recognized 16 presidential scholars (students who distinguished themselves and earned a four-year full ride scholarship to EMU) in the 2012 class.
The board also recognized the retirement of Jim Streeter from his long held post of Associate Athletics Director for Media Relations. Streeter spent 39 years with the EMU Athletic Media Relations office, 37 of those as director.
“I wanted to be part of the history, not write about the history,” Streeter said in his farewell to the board.
Regent Thomas Sidlik announced the selection of a commencement speaker for the December graduation ceremony. Howdy Holmes, president and CEO of the Chelsea Milling Company, noted auto racer and longtime supporter of EMU, will be giving the commencement address and conferred with an honorary degree.
It was also announced that Phillip Jenkins, a local philanthropist, would be given an honorary degree from the university.
The board also authorized a refinancing of current debt and new borrowing up to $10 million for continued improvements to the university.
Several new policies were adopted by the board, including a code of ethics, workplace violence prevention policy and employment of relatives policy. There were also revisions accepted to the current supplemental employment policy and political activity policy.
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