Parody University
Utah school’s rejection of ‘Cougars’ as offensive to creepy older women is latest in nickname backlash

The Orange of Syracuse, Banana Slugs of UC-Santa Cruz and Boll Weevils of the University of Arkansas at Monticello could become endangered if a growing fringe movement has its way.

A long-simmering concern about school nicknames as potentially derogatory to various societal groups has reemerged in the headlines this week as the school board at Corner Canyon High School in Utah shot down the student body’s choice of “Cougars” for fear of it offending older women.

The slang term “cougar” has become synonymous with women of a certain age who become romantically entangled with much younger men. But its use in this context seems of little bother to the many high schools and colleges—including Brigham Young University, the University of Houston and the University of Charleston—that champion the name and equate it with the powerful, graceful feline common to a goodly portion of the United States.

The nickname issue is nothing new, having been in and out of public consciousness for decades, most notably with universities amending their identities so as not to offend Native Americans. Among them: Marquette University changed from Warriors to Golden Eagles in 1994, St. John’s University dropped Redmen for Red Storm a year later, and Quinnipiac University swapped Braves to Bobcats in 2001. And last spring, the North Dakota Board of Higher Education voted to retire the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux (a new name has yet to be chosen).

Like those who traveled the path before them, the Corner Canyon board stands by its decision. What’s more, its defiant stance has drawn a groundswell of support, most notably from a lobbying group known as the New Order for Name Sense (a.k.a. NONSENSE).

“We are NONSENSE, and we pledge to take our righteous cause to college campuses across the country,” says organizer Mitt Paul Perry. “We will occupy their administration buildings, we will protest in their stadiums, and we will not relent until their presidents agree to banish these disgraceful names from their caps, their t-shirts and their co-eds’ underwear.”

NONSENSE has released the following list of nicknames/institutions and those NONSENSE asserts are offended:

·         Billikens (St. Louis University): all mythical creatures

·         Sooners (University of Oklahoma): procrastinators

·         Red Storm (St. John’s University): latent Communists

·         Fighting Okra (Delta State University): meat lovers

·         Cornhuskers (University of Nebraska): corn

·         Banana Slugs (UC –Santa Cruz): other snail-like creatures that don’t have such cute names and prompt reactions of eeeeew!”

·         Anteaters (UC-Irvine): ants, long persecuted by anteaters

·         Volunteers (University of Tennessee): workers

·         Trolls (Trinity Christian College): see “Billikens” above

·         Crimson Tide (University of Alabama): beach lovers; the “red tide” is actually a deadly algae infestation affecting coastal areas

·         Green Wave (Tulane University): beach lovers again; different color but still a disgusting algae

·         Boll Weevils (University of Arkansas at Monticello): cotton growers, duh

·         Orange (Syracuse University): grapefruit and other less popular citrus

·         Cyclones (Iowa State University): anyone living in the plains states

·         Hurricanes (University of Miami): everyone everywhere

·         Titans (Cal State Fullerton): Greek gods, ancient enemies of the Titans

·         Tide (Pepperdine University): dirtbags and others who don’t like detergent

·         Dirtbags (Long Beach State):Tide, Gain, Purex and other detergents

·         Golden Hurricane (University of Tulsa): see “Cyclones”

·         Rebels (University of Mississippi): Yanks

·         Colonials (George Washington University): Brits

·         Fighting Irish (University of Notre Dame): Brits

·         Minutemen (University of Massachusetts): Brits

·         Privateers (University of New Orleans): Spaniards

·         Sycamores (Indiana State University): lumberjacks

·         Lumberjacks (University of Northern Arizona): sycamores

·         Fightin’ Blue Hens (University of Delaware): Gamecocks

·         Gamecocks (University of South Carolina): Fightin’ Blue Hens

·         Golden Flashes (Kent State University): attractive young women, frequent targets of trench-coated perverts

·         Mastodons (Indiana Purdue University at Fort Wayne): cave men

·         Trojans (University of Southern California): Spartans (see ancient history)

·         Spartans (Michigan State): Trojans (ditto)

·         Delta Devils (Mississippi Valley State): God-fearing Christians

·         Crusaders (College of the Holy Cross): Muslims

·         Fighting Camels (Campbell College): crusaders

·         Demon Deacons (Wake Forest University): Muslims again

·         Conquistadors (Dodge City Community College): Aztecs

·         Aztecs (San Diego State): conquistadors

·         Dragons (Drexel University): knights

·         Scarlet Knights (Rutgers University): dragons

·         Black Knights (U.S. Military Academy): dragons again

·         Penguins (Youngstown State): polar bears

·         Polar Bears (University of Alaska-Fairbanks): penguins

·         Roadrunners (University of Texas-San Antonio): Wyle E. Coyote

 Musketeers (Xavier University): Cardinal Richelieu

Banana Slug: Endangered by NONSENSE