MQT risks cultural flashpoint Monday – Can we find unity?

MARQUETTE, Mich. — On Mon. Jan 6 in Kaufman Auditorium the community will be focused on public-comment during a regularly scheduled MAPS Board of Education (BoE) organizational meeting.

Most of the comment during this organizational meeting will be regarding the debate over MSHS removing the name “Redmen.”

Community members at this BoE meeting will undoubtedly be passionate. These past few weeks social media has been full of volatile rhetoric and personal attacks that haven’t been constructive to the debate. On-record public comment needs to practice a higher level of decorum. 

I know this issue is divisive. I myself have been part of some escalated and visceral verbal disagreements, even with few I love. It’s emotional for both sides.

We can all learn and grow from each other by listening with empathy and compassion. We may disagree. Considering the origins, its coopted history, efforts to rectify it, and how vernacular changes over time, we have a nuanced complicated debate ahead.

On social media, private groups preach to their choirs safely at distance from each other. Tomorrow those two groups risk flashpoint. At the very least, I trust both sides to be able to communicate civilly, and truly listen to each other.

This issue can easily escalate. Facts and evidence are precident over feelings and opinions, but inevitably we will all come to the table with our own perspectives on what those facts are, or whether they’re important. 

We are all stakeholders here, whether you’re an alum, student, parent, taxpayer, Native American, Non-Native or if you have other reasons to support your argument. You’re human. You’re important. You matter. 

There may be a compromise and consensus, but we cannot achieve it without respectfully engaging and understanding each other. I know how incredibly difficult it can be to calmly listen to something that fundamentally counters your deep convictions. We owe it to each other to try.

Whenever this vote comes to fruition, it’s my sincere hope all those with honorable intentions feel validated, on whichever side their positions may lie. I, of course, like many of those invested in this, vehemently agree more with one than the other, but if we can all live together in unity with an outcome that progresses our community forward, it’s a conversation worth having.

If we care to learn, many of us will benefit from further personal edification on this topic.

Please remain calm. Please listen. Please avoid ad-hominens and personal attacks. We are all members of this wonderful community. Respect one another and let’s set an example for MSHS students. Let’s show the next generation how adults engage when in disagreement. If any community can discuss this offline without fraction, it’s Marquette. We can all at least share some pride in that.  


Members of the community are encouraged to attend and contribute to the record and/or support students and community members who will be speaking on the issue.

The meeting begins at 5:30 PM.

Attendees must register their intention to participate in the public portion of the meeting upon their arrival. Speakers are asked to express themselves in a civil manner, with due respect for the dignity and privacy of others who may be affected by public comments.

No votes regarding the topic are scheduled for this evening. For more information on the committee’s recommendation to change the name, visit bit.ly/MSHSName.

If you cannot attend, your input is valued via e-mail at schoolboard@mapsnet.org.