HONOLULU – (Hawaii News Now) The University of Hawaii at
Manoa Letterwinners Club has sent a letter to Athletics Dircetor Ben Jay,
asking that he hold off on changing the nicknames of the men's athletic teams
Jay said in February that on July 1, 2013, the name change
will come into effect.
The Club stated in its letter that, after a period of "very
difficult times", it feels Jay's priority should be to "begin the healing
process and bring everyone back together".
State Representative and Letterwinners Club President K.
Mark Takai told Hawaii News Now "Bringing up changes to nicknames is divisive,
and it challenges the attempt to bring everyone together."
Takai said that previous attempts to have a dialogue with
Jay on the topic haven't happened. Jay
is on the mainland and did not offer comment, but in the past has been
steadfast in his decision to go through with the standardization.
Jay has met with another opponent to the name change,
Stephen Chinen. Chinen is organizing a
rally on Friday at Bachman Hall "Rally 4 Rainbows". He believes the name for all the men's teams
should be Rainbow Warriors. Jay wrote an
email to Chinen, addressing the topic:
Mahalo for your
As my assistant
Jeannie Lee previously informed you, I am currently attending meetings on the
mainland and will not be available for the rally. However, I'm glad we were
able to meet in order to share views and opinions.
When the decision
was made in 2000 to change the nickname of the football, men's volleyball,
golf, and tennis teams to Warriors, I'm sure there were individuals that were
against the decision because of their strong affinity for Rainbows.
Now, 13 years
later, the Warrior nickname has been embraced by many and I am not aware of any
past organized campaigns to change the nicknames of these four men's teams back
to either Rainbow Warriors or Rainbows.
After arriving at
UH, it soon became clear that a decision had to be made to unite the remaining
three men's teams (men's basketball, baseball, and swimming & diving) with
the other four under a common nickname in order to end a branding situation
that has caused confusion both locally and nationally and hampered marketing,
licensing, and merchandising initiatives.
Based on numerous
conversations with UH fans, I did not hear a consensus on what the men's
nickname should be but individuals were clearly in agreement that a decision
had to be made and was long overdue. One of the key factors in the decision was
that Warriors is the nickname of the majority of our men's teams, including the
one with the largest fan following (football).
We are changing the
nickname of three of our seven men's programs and not "all" of them.
As I mentioned, four have been Warriors since 2000. In essence, we are not
"making" a decision to adopt the Warrior nickname for our men's
sports, we are basically "finishing" the decision made 13 years ago,
so that our brand identity is clear and unified.
Your efforts have
not gone unnoticed and we appreciate the feedback and passion that has been
expressed. We've also received feedback from many who are in support of the
Warriors and Rainbow Wahine nicknames. We know we will not be able to
please everyone but we are moving forward.
that we are not removing Rainbow entirely, since our women's team's will remain
Rainbow Wahine and the "Let's Go Bows" cheer will always be a part of
the cheerleaders and fans' repertoire. Also, there are plans to continue to
honor the Rainbow tradition, including a "Retro Night" during the
upcoming football season and a line of retro merchandise that is currently
being sold. Other initiatives will also be planned.
Mahalo for your
support of our men's and women's student-athletes and I hope to see you at many
UH sporting events.
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