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March 6, 2013

'Redskins' change on board's agenda

Oneida Nation offers funds for new uniforms

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — The Cooperstown Central School Board of Education plans to consider changes to its mascot’s name at it regular meeting today. It is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the middle/high school.

The process was improved through the efforts of its public relations committee and its efforts to solicit public input, according to a media release from the school.

The process began when students discussed their concerns with the nickname “Redskins” with administration and board members, according to the release. Officials then began the process of reviewing the potentially negative message associated with the term. The topic was publicly broached at the Jan. 16 board of education meeting.

Following that meeting Cooperstown Student Council members were asked to assist with gathering suggestions and feedback for potential alternatives to the nickname. Students in grades seven through 12 were given the opportunity to weigh in.

After several representatives of the school’s alumni association questioned why their input was not sought at a Feb. 6 meeting, the public relations committee and Superintendent C.J. Hebert have met several times with Alumni Association Vice President Chad Welch along with other concerned community representatives.

After hearing about the Cooperstown students’ desire for change, the Oneida Nation made contact with the district to offer its support for a change and pledge funds to help defray the cost of replacing uniforms that bear the current nickname. Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Nation sent a letter of support for a change of the nickname as well.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has also sent the Cooperstown students letters of support for the potential change.

These letters and others on the issue can be accessed at the school’s website — www.cooperstowncs.org.