Denver Boone, University of Denver's unofficial mascot, soon to be banished?

denver boone 205x205.jpg
Is the University of Denver's hunt for a new mascot turning into a Boone-doggle? That's what some alumni are wondering after attending a Thursday focus group, part of a campus-wide process to calm controversy and select a new mascot. Denver Boone, a coonskin cap-wearing caricature, was adopted as the image of the DU Pioneers back in 1968; although he was banished three decades later, Chancellor Robert Coombe agreed in 2008 that Boone could return in an unofficial capacity. But now that era is over.

And this time, it sounds like there's no possibility of Boone, who just won our Readers' choice for Best Mascot, will be coming back.

Adam Odekirk, a 2006 DU graduate, says that "shocking revelation" didn't come until the end of last night's focus group, which included a half-dozen alumni and a third-party moderator. Odekirk was invited to participate because he'd sent a letter about Boone to the alumni office, he explains, and he agreed to join in because "they assured me that this was an informational gathering."

So all the participants talked openly about what kind of characteristics they'd want DU's new mascot to have, and even discussed what kind of compromises might be possible to make an acceptable version of Boone. "One thing we all unanimously agreed on," he adds, "is we would all feel comfortable if there was a vote, and if Boone was a candidate."

That's why Odekirk says he was shocked to learn at the end of the meeting that no matter what comes up in the focus groups and discussions now being conducted on the DU campus, Boone is not going to be a candidate. That echoes what Coombe's said in a letter to the DU campus on March 13, after the Undergraduate Student Government voted to look for a new mascot, but alums in the group were still surprised that there was no possibility of compromise.

In fact, although the university is committed to the "Pioneers" name, the focus-group leaders said the mascot will not be any kind of frontiersman. Or frontierswoman.

Which leaves what? "When we think of a Pioneer," Odekirk says, "we don't want it to be nonsensical, don't want it to be an animal."

Sounds like all that might be left is a Boone-doggle.

From the Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "University of Denver looking for a new mascot that isn't Denver Boone."

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13 comments
MattLupton
MattLupton

DU sent out a letter claiming Boone represented "marginalization" of pretty much everyone but white guys. I'm sure when the Committee Who Decides Stuff Like This sat down and began the process of confronting this epic struggle, everyone at the table wrung their hands with concern, seeing that Boone, being a white guy/toddler with a beard, is very likely a misogynistic racist. We've been told we are to all agree he's a horrible, horrible little evil-doer who delights in social injustice.

espnradio
espnradio

Denver, overpaying marketing and destroying trust and alumni bonds since 1864.

Robert Coombe, being a destroyer of dreams and a spineless "educator" since 1981.

Dev Adams
Dev Adams

The University of Denver has never cared about public opinion unless there is a huge amount of money tied to it. Especially if that public happens to be students or alumni - our opinions count even less.

Ryan Terpstra
Ryan Terpstra

Oh, not this shit again. Everyone associates Boone with DU whether he's official or not. Any replacement they come up with is just bland and not memorable in any way. This is a continuing case of trying to re-brand an organization so that some overinflated egos can leave their mark on an institution. I'll patiently be waiting for the next underwhelming "New Coke" mascot that the university craps out.

geoz
geoz

It turns out that the City of Denver is named after James W. Denver.  Denver was a soldier who served in two wars among other things. He also served as one of the early (aka pioneer) governors of Kansas.  Thus, it is with regret that the University must also change it's name.  Having the very word "Denver" appear on the name is a slap in the fact to all Mexicans, but also to those native to Colorado... I mean ... he was from Kansas for heaven's sake.  The city is reportedly stallwart in their hate for anyone who doesn't love pioneers and will retain the abhorent name "Denver" at the time of this report. 

BooneForever
BooneForever

As a current DU student, by far the most frustrating aspect of this whole deal is that nobody, not Chancellor Coombe, not the NSA, has actually come out and said WHY Boone is so offensive. I hate that this is an issue and that I pay roughly $50,000 a year to attend such a spineless and presently spiritless institution.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Ryan Terpstra Strong post, Ryan. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Much appreciated.

captaincoconut
captaincoconut

@BooneForever Just look at his beady cartoon eyes and you can imagine the evil incarnate.  But unlike Porky Pig, Donald Duck, et. all, the little dude does have pants on.  Perhaps Chancellor Coombe should be allowed to stay on in an unofficial capacity as well- since his ancestors were likely slaveowners.

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