New Syracuse logo, nickname incite controversy

(U-WIRE) SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The era of the Orange has begun.

Following Director of Athletics Jake Crouthamel’s announcement in May, Syracuse athletic teams returned this fall with a new identity: No more Orangemen and Orangewomen, no more varying logos on uniforms and apparel, no more conflicting hues of blue and orange.

Syracuse will enter the 2004-05 school year simply as the Orange, with all teams sharing a new Nike-designed “SU” logo with interlocking letters and a matching color scheme.

“The reason for the changes is to create a new brand: Orange,” Crouthamel said. “Getting one orange color and one blue color and one logo to represent 21 teams and the university was very important.”

The landmark decision has split Syracuse followers in two since its announcement three months ago. A large backlash has swelled over the nickname change in particular, evidenced by a growing Internet petition calling for a return of the Orangemen and Orangewomen.

The “Keep Orangemen and Orangewomen!” petition addressed to the athletic department contains 5,018 total signatures telling the department “that any change to [the] nicknames – even to ‘Orange’ – would cause irreparable harm to [their] allegiance, loyalty, passion and support for Syracuse University and its athletic teams.”

Patrick Magnuson, who graduated from Syracuse in 2000 and once served on SU’s Athletic Policy Board, was one of the first people to sign the petition.

He said that while he encourages the logo and color changes, he disagrees with the new nicknames.

“One logo and color throughout all teams is all well and good,” Magnuson said. “But I’m not aware of any real need to change Orangemen and women. It just seems like common sense. It’s a lot more descriptive than just Orange.”

The petition has caught the attention of Crouthamel and his department.

In response to the protest, Crouthamel said he respects the signatories’ efforts, but that the petition will not affect the department’s decision in any way. He also said that fans aren’t forced to call the athletic teams by the new Orange nickname if they do not choose to do so.

Magnuson thinks the issue runs deeper than just a few aesthetic modifications.

Making such changes without consulting students or alumni made the alumnus question what the Syracuse administration might do next.

“I think students and alumni really need to keep a close eye on what’s going on,” Magnuson said, “or else we could all turn around one day and see SU (become) a totally different place.”

On the other end of the spectrum, others have no problems with the changes.

The prevalent feeling among supporters is that the athletic department’s decision only affects appearance, and that the actual teams, athletes and performances are what matter.

Syracuse tennis head coach Mac Gifford supports the change, putting the issue in perspective.

“Truthfully, we have a national election and a war in Iraq,” Gifford said. “Those are things I worry about a lot more than a new logo or nickname. The only thing that will hurt us in this situation is how we do athletically. As far as fans go, they’re still going to get behind the team.”

Another controversial issue arises from the timing of Syracuse’s decision.

Many questioned if the athletic department had ulterior motives in waiting to make such a divisive announcement only after students left campus for summer break.

– Mike Janela

Crouthamel said that announcing his decision over the summer was not his original intention. The initial plan, Crouthamel said, called for the announcement to come at the football team’s media day in late August.

But the planned changes leaked to multiple Syracuse television stations in May, forcing Crouthamel to make the announcement much earlier than planned. Originally, the plans intended for the news to break just before or simultaneously with student arrival.

“There was this notion from students of being left out of the decision,” Crouthamel said. “If we had been able to roll this out the way we intended to, I don’t think we would’ve gotten the negative reaction we did.”

The troika of changes debuted in the men’s lacrosse national championship game against Navy in July, as the Syracuse team took the field with the new logo, colors and nickname all in effect.

Aside from a few slips of the tongue by broadcasters referring to the team as Orangemen, the changes went off successfully as the Orange won their ninth national title.

Now begins SU’s first official season as the Orange. Crouthamel hopes for continued athletic success and feels Syracuse followers will grow fond of the changes in no time.

“We haven’t changed school colors or the fact that we’re SU,” Crouthamel said. “We’ve just remodeled. There are some people that feel very strongly that they’ve been disenfranchised, and I can’t change that. But when people get to see the so-called dramatic change, they’ll be less concerned about it because it’s actually not.”

Conservatives begin protesting protesters at Republican convention

By Alison Go

Michigan Daily (U. Michigan)

08/30/2004

(U-WIRE) NEW YORK – Very visible and sometimes raucous political protesting has traditionally been the activity of liberals. But with an unusually long and cold election season already nearing its solstice, a newly formed conservative group, calling itself ProtestWarriors, has decided to let tradition hang.

Brandishing provocative signs and letting loose confrontational rhetoric, PW members – who were mostly college-aged, pro-Bush activists – were ‘protesting the protesters’ from United for Peace and Justice, who marched here yesterday against President Bush, as PW member Daniel Kizziah put it.

Anticipating the kickoff of the GOP convention today in Madison Square Garden, PW named its engagement ‘Operation Liberty Rising’ and positioned more than 200 of its members along UPJ’s walking route.

“Their monopoly on moral high ground is over,” PW co-founder Alan Lipton said, referring to the UPJ marchers. “They are emotionally bankrupt, and they’re just trying to demonize Bush.”

The group’s trademark has become its large, laminated signs splashed with wry slogans such as “World workers party … the last thing we actually do is work” and gibes like “Stop the vicious spread of wealth creation! Vote green” and “Let’s all be poor and miserable equally!”

But even as founders of PW liken themselves to proprietors of truth on their Web site’s manifesto, some participating in the UPJ march preferred the phrase “right-wing fascists.”

PW’s signs are “misleading, and they are misrepresenting themselves as part of groups that are for peace and justice,” said Aaron Benanav, a University of Chicago senior. “It’s total junk.”

And while Benanav and his companions felt it appropriate to chant “right-wing fascists” at the Warriors sign-holders, others preferred verbal altercation and purportedly even physical violence.

Along with a guardrail that ran along length of the route, police separated PW members from the marchers on the streets.

Kizziah alleged that marchers attacked and attempted to destroy a PW member’s sign. His remarks fit right in with a PW sign that read, “Thank you NYPD for protecting us from the ‘peace’ protesters.”

“They’re not very peaceful for being peace protesters,” Kizziah said.

But not everyone in the crowd was outraged by PW’s presence.

Pointing to a sign that read, “Except for slavery, fascism, nazism and communism, war has never solved anything,” John Fleh, an onlooker donning an “I don’t vote” T-shirt, said he found PW’s signs clever and humorous.