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South Eugene to cut 'men' from team name to become 'The Axe'

Principal Andy Dey informed parents Monday afternoon that "I submitted my recommendation to the Superintendent last Wednesday and have been informed that he has accepted and is in support of the recommendation as written. I have attached the recommendation so that you are aware of our thoughts behind the decision."

EUGENE, Ore. - South Eugene High School will give "men" the axe in the team's name.

Principal Andy Dey informed parents Monday afternoon that "I submitted my recommendation to the Superintendent last Wednesday and have been informed that he has accepted and is in support of the recommendation as written. I have attached the recommendation so that you are aware of our thoughts behind the decision." | BACKGROUND

In his proposal to the district, Dey acknowledge the decision won't make everyone happy.

"I submit this recommendation fully aware that it will not satisfy everyone, but with the hope that all members of our community will recognize that it expresses our shared values of tradition, inclusion and unity," he wrote. "South will remain the home of The Axe. Our boys and girls teams will step onto the field or court carrying with them more than a century of tradition, expressed in a way that will unify them as a single school community. And yet we are adapting that tradition to a new, more inclusive world in which women compete just as aggressively and skillfully as men."

Dey said 4,000 people took the district's survey on the matter. Of those:

  • Nearly 75 percent of respondents indicate that it is important the team name represent all students

  • Yet nearly 40 percent of respondents do not agree that "the Axemen accurately represents me”

  • Also telling are trends in the responses to the statement “The Axemen Accurately Represents All Teams at South”. Twenty percent of our former students, 33 percent of our current students, 52 percent of our future students, 53 percent of our parents and 56 percent of our staff did not express agreement with this statement.

  • Similar, yet more pronounced, trends are seen in responses to the statement that The Axemen accurately represents all students at South. Twenty five percent of our former students, 37 percent of our current students, fifty eight percent of our future students, fifty six percent of our parents and 55 percent of our staff did not express agreement with this statement.

The principal also addressed concerns about the cost of such a change.

Nearly all costs associated with unification of all teams under one team name will be the same whether the name changes or stays the same. No matter the team name, the school will continue to purchase new uniforms on a cycle established several years ago. Thus, we save little by maintaining the Axemen. Similarly, we will always replenish letterhead, envelopes, diploma cardstock, spirit wear, etc. Again, little is saved no matter what decision is made. The costs associated with making a change are small compared to estimates made by those in favor of staying the same. The one-time cost associated with an updated team name is a small price to pay to ensure all teams are unified under one officially branded symbol.



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