HONOLULU – (Hawaii News Now) University of Hawaii at Manoa Athletics Director Ben Jay has sent a response to the UH Letterwinners Club Board of Directors. The Club had asked Jay to withhold on changing the name of all the men's athletic teams to Warriors on July 1, 2013.
The letter reads similarly to the one Jay sent to Stephen Chinen, an independent organizer of the "Rally 4 Rainbows" event. Mr Chinen wants the name of the mens programs to be Rainbow Warriors.
In both letters, Jay expresses appreciation for their passion and viewpoints, but stands firm that the name change will go through as planned so that "our brand identity is clear and unified".
Below is a copy of the letter to the Letterwinners Club Board of Directors, as obtained by Hawaii News Now.
Dear UH Letterwinners Club Board of Directors,
Mahalo for your letter, which clearly demonstrates your passion for the University of Hawai‘i at
Mānoa Athletics Department. I respect the opinions you expressed and know you understand
that decisions of this nature are not without some level of controversy, due to the subjectivity and
emotions involved. However, allow me to provide my perspective on this situation and the
thought process that went into the final outcome.
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.
UH Letterwinners Club Board of Directors
May 2, 2013
As we expected, the response has been mixed but we're confident that this decision is in the best
interest of UH and the Athletics Department. Please understand that we are not removing
Rainbow entirely, since our women's teams 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 continuing support.
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