Dueling petitions over UHS logo

It’s been brewing for several years now and is under consideration again. It’s the status of the logo for Unionville High School, and now there are two online petitions over the matter. One says to keep it, and the other says it must change.

Two years ago, former Unionville-Chadds Ford School District Director and President Vic Dupuis said there was not any consideration for changing the mascot, calling such reports “fake news.”

In a March 2018 meeting, he said, "A few vocal antagonists on this issue have flooded our community with false and derogatory statements…in misleading social media and news articles," he said. "There is no recommendation by the administration or faculty or staff that could potentially remove the Indian mascot."

The current school logo.

The school’s mascot has been the Indian, and the logo, for years, was a stylized Indian head in a full bonnet. But the logo was changed and is currently of the letter U with a feather hanging from the upper left.

An online petition calls for a change. It was started by “a former” UHS student.

“In a mostly white and affluent district, the mascot is irrefutably offensive, and tradition alone is not a valid reason to keep a celebration of the stolen land and culture that Unionville rests on,” the petition reads in part, and says it reflects “deep racism.”

More than 1,000 people have signed on since the petition went up on June 16. The goal is 1,500.

But another petition, posted three days later by the “Silent majority of Unionville” calls for keeping the logo. The petition has 111 signers so far.

As has been reported nationally, many businesses have changed their logos since a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd, a black man, was handcuffed and prone, struggling to say he couldn’t breathe. Those logo changes included Land O’ Lakes, which removed the image of a young Indian woman from its packaging. Similar changes were made to Aunt Jemima Pancake Syrup and Uncle Ben’s Rice where black faces were removed.

Superintendent of Schools John Sanville has sent out the following letter to the community after learning about the first petition:

“We thank the alumni for their passion and energy around this topic. It is worth noting that the UCFSD graduates initiating this process have done so to change the path forward not for themselves, but for those still in school. Their perspectives have grown no doubt as part of their post-high school lives.  UCF’s mission to “empower students to succeed in life and contribute to society” is exemplified by the actions taking place now.

“In our efforts to respond to the petition we reached back into our memories and into our files. Since at least 2011 the mascot has been a topic of discussion internally and in the community. We have had conversations with tribal elders of the Lenni Lenape Tribe - who reside in Oklahoma. These talks resulted in UCF eliminating the offensive stereotypical iconography and the tomahawk chop cheer. The UHS logo was changed to a U with a single feather. Symbols that carry negative connotations about a particular group are unwelcome in UCF.

“We are always working on bringing racial and other sensitive issues to the forefront; through curriculum, experiential learning, and in programs throughout the District. In fact, since 2008 the school calendar has added holidays in response to members of our community. UCF is familiar with and respectful of the varied traditions and beliefs within our boundaries.

“In school - when we can provoke thought, increase interest, and promote discussion where all viewpoints are heard our students benefit.  The breadth and depth of knowledge, accomplishment, and expertise from all corners of the world is at our doorstep. Open access to so many resources ensures that our classes and lessons reflect the talents of all. We recognize that cross-cultural learning is the way forward.

“Our support of students and alumni interested in bringing forward a sensitive topic for discussion continues in 2020.  We welcome the opportunity to participate in dialogues, view and share presentations, and facilitate community forums.  In the weeks ahead we will coordinate calendars with all those interested in taking part.

“I know that we are all interested in the best outcome for UCF. We are listening, thinking, reading, and talking. We are using this as a starting point for asking what we can do better, what we can change, and how to implement new practices. We are educators and know that there is always more to learn. Your ideas are welcome. Your support is appreciated.”

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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One Response to “Dueling petitions over UHS logo”

  1. Molson says:

    Well said Audrey. I think that the silent majority mentioned above
    should change their name to the “Not silent majority of Unionville anymore”. Make it 112
    Dan Doubet

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