Dubuque's Clarke University to be the 'Crusaders' no more - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque's Clarke University to be the 'Crusaders' no more

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Clarke University has been the home of the Crusaders for the last 40 years, but pretty soon their mascot's name will change from the Clarke Crusaders to the Clarke Pride.

Alumni and are students reacting to the news. "I saw some kind of social media uproar, and I get that, you know sometimes change is hard and other people have an issue with it, but I personally don't think change is so bad," said Molly Kleppin, senior student at Clarke.

Some say the name is offensive, including the Charity of Sisters Blessed Virgin Mary who founded the university. "The name Crusader refers to really the marriage between religion and violence," said Sister and Clarke faculty member Paulette Skiba.

It refers to the history of battles between Christians and Muslims over the Holy Land during the Dark Ages.

The Sisters have been working on this for quite some time.  However, recent events helped bring along this change. 

"Culturally we're at a time where there is a lot of religious intolerance and bigotry and you simply can't redefine that word to people on the outside, or people who say, you're the Crusaders?"  Sister Paulette said.

The change will become effective August 1.

Leaders with the BVM Sisters sent us a statement saying, "Today, being more attuned to the power or language and being a community of forward thinkers and learners, this is the right move for a Catholic university rooted in the values of the BVM Sisters – education, charity, justice and freedom - to take.

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Clark University in Dubuque will soon be the Clark Pride, parting ways with the nickname Crusaders after 40 years.

Clarke University Athletic Director Curt Long announced the change Thursday night.  The change will become effective August 1.

"There has been much discussion on campus about the appropriateness of the nickname Crusaders for a number of years," said Long in a release from the school.  "While many of our athletic alumni and current student athletes consider themselves Crusaders for the positive meaning of the word, there is concern associated with the negative meaning.  Many Clarke Crusaders have been champions for the institution and for causes related to Clarke's mission."

KWWL's Shirley Descorbeth contributed to this report. 

Their new name, pride, draws on their logo--a group of lions is called a pride.

"Coaches and athletics staff members brainstormed and evaluated possible nicknames this winter and concluded a more inclusive identity better represents the mission of the university and its athletics program," said Kate Zanger, Clarke Vice President for Student Life.   "In the end, it was decided that the nickname "Pride" best represents Clarke's program and allows the university to keep the current logos and mascot."

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