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D'Youville changes mascot from 'Spartans' to 'Saints,' addresses rebranding concerns

D'Youville wrote on Facebook that the name change aims to better represent the college's students and move away from the context of the previous name.
D'Youville College

BUFFALO, N.Y. — D'Youville College changed a major part of their athletic identity earlier this week, and after some mixed responses they're speaking out about the change. On June 22, D'Youville announced on Facebook they will no longer be the "Spartans" but rather, the "Saints."

D'Youville stated that this was a long process, taking over a year and involving an outside auditor. The college no longer felt "Spartans" inclusively represented the identities of all students, and thus the "Saints" were born. 

After a work-week's worth of public comment on social media, D'Youville came back on Saturday with a post reflecting more on why it was time to say goodbye to the Spartans. It read in part:

"Reaction is common during mascot changes, but we’re talking about the Spartans… A racist, militaristic society of slave owners who literally employed death squads to keep people in line. Historical context says Spartan boys were taken from their mothers at the age of 9, sent to barracks, starved to get resistant to hunger, whipped into obedience, and encouraged to steal to improve their stealth. If you had a disability and couldn’t fight you were mocked. Historians point to a culture of 'extreme masculinity.' There are accounts of Spartan men stripping naked and performing sports nude then covering themselves with oil afterwards to publicly celebrate."

The college went on to say the move to Saints better represents the college's mission to serve and care for others. 

The post also addressed concerns people had brought up regarding the rebranding, including the cost it might impose. The college stated that it hadn't spent "anything outside our budget" and that the gym floor was up for a change due to NCAA regulations regardless.

Additionally, the college addressed concerns about the cost during furloughs.

"Yes, 6% of our staff only is furloughed right now. That’s significantly lower than many of our peers and we are still working as hard as we can to make sure enrollments come in to the best of our ability – to ensure a strong D’Youville for the long term. Colleges and universities are predicting anywhere from 10 to 50 percent enrollment hits as a result of COVID-19. So why work on our brand and image at a time like this? This is exactly the time to ensure our brand best reflects who we are – a school that seeks, every day, to build healthy, thriving communities so our students, our city, and our region can grow."

You can read the college's full post here:

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