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At University of Denver, students can get ID without ‘Pioneers’ nickname if it offends them

The University of Denver now offers students the opportunity to get a student ID without the “Pioneers” header that has adorned it for years.

The move comes in the wake of protests that the university’s Pioneers nickname is offensive because it represents “genocide and oppression.”

Campus spokesperson Renea Morris confirmed to The College Fix the sanitized version of the student ID is now available.

“[O]ur standard cards say Pioneer but if anyone prefers a card saying University of Denver only, we offer them that option,” Morris said.

The development comes after a recent printing error caused controversy. When a batch of the students IDs were printed without the Pioneers nickname on them, a DU watchdog group alerted the masses.

“In yet another stunning move, DU is now issuing University ID cards which lack the ‘Pioneer Card’ header that had previously been on the cards, as depicted in the above photos. Since at least 2006, DU had issued ‘Pioneer Cards’ to all students, faculty and staff as DU’s official identity and access card. This decision effectively severs the most visual, tangible and authoritative Pioneer nickname linkage between the University and the cardholding DU community,” the independent University of Denver-centric blog LetsGoDU reported.

What’s more, LetsGoDU added the ID card is the latest in a string of incidents in which campus leaders are erasing the Pioneers nickname from campus.

“Just a few months ago, DU changed the 94-year old Pioneer Awards to Crimson and Gold Awards and a few weeks ago, DU changed the Pioneer Passage freshman orientation program to ‘New Student Convocation.’ Each of these changes has been made despite DU Board of Trustees 2018 assurances that DU would in fact retain the Pioneer nickname,” the blog reported.

As for the ID cards, Morris told The Fix: “All of our standard ID cards say Pioneer. In fact, there was a mistake in the last batch of cards because they did not say Pioneer on the front of the card. We are working to fix this issue immediately.”

LetsGoDU’s publisher, Tim Thompson, wrote about his concerns online.

“I am trying, but I’m really struggling to believe the University’s written explanations,“ Thompson said. “The Pioneer Card is the ONE piece of identification that all DU people on campus carry that identifies them as Pioneers. While Morris seems to be trying to blame simple administrative incompetence at DU, one can’t help but question whether this action is part of the ongoing pattern to remove the Pioneer name from use.”

Meanwhile, some cheer the student ID development as a win against “colonialism.”

“Good riddance! DU students themselves advocated for this, because they wish to no longer have a nickname rooted in settler colonialism and violence towards indigenous people. They know that they, like you all, occupy stolen land and wish to do all they can to help make up for DU’s genocidal past. Go DU! I am a proud alumnus,” one alumnus posted on Facebook, according to screenshots.

While some on campus may want the Pioneers nickname erased from existence, the issue remains a hotly debated topic in the community.

But the university’s sports division continues to use the nickname.

MORE: Students work to ban ‘Pioneers’ nickname, says it represents ‘genocide, oppression’


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About the Author
Brittany Slaughter -- Liberty University