The long campaign to change McGill’s varsity name –

by ahnationtalk on October 3, 2019359 Views

Decades of protest ended in success after McGill students voted to remove ‘Redmen’ from their athletes’ jerseys

Oct 3, 2019

Tomas Jirousek, a fourth-year varsity rower at McGill and a member of the Kainai First Nation in southern Alberta, spent the third year of his undergraduate career working to change the name of McGill’s varsity teams. Since the late 1920s, the school’s male athletes have been known as the McGill Redmen—a moniker that’s generated plenty of controversy in recent decades, thanks to its association with harmful stereotypes of Indigenous peoples. Jirousek’s campaign officially launched with a rally on campus on Oct. 31, 2018, when students chanted “change the name” and “not your Redmen.” The demonstration coincided with a petition and an open letter to the administration; Jirousek and other supporters continued to campaign afterwards. In November 2018, the Students’ Society at McGill held a referendum on changing the name, and 79 per cent of students voted for change. On April 12, 2019, following decades of backlash capped off by Jirousek’s efforts, the administration officially announced that it would drop the name.

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