June 26, 2020
Members of OSU community,
I am writing to share that Oregon State University and the University of Oregon have agreed that effective immediately the term “Civil War” will no longer be used to promote any athletic competition between the universities.
As you likely know, “Civil War” has been used for football and basketball games — and other sports competition — between OSU and UO since the phrase was first referenced in the 1930’s.
Changing this name is overdue as it represents a connection to a war fought to perpetuate slavery. While not intended as reference to the actual Civil War, OSU sports competition should not provide any misconstrued reference to this divisive episode in American history.
In recent years, some students, faculty, alumni, student-athletes, OSU stakeholders and community members have questioned the appropriateness of this term. That we did not act before to change the name was a mistake. We do so now, along with other important actions to advance equal opportunity and justice for all and in recognition that Black Lives Matter.
President-elect King Alexander and I are in full agreement with this decision. So is UO President Mike Schill, OSU Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes, and UO Athletics Director Rob Mullens, as well as numerous current and past student-athletes from both universities.
In the months ahead, OSU and the University of Oregon will engage collaboratively to involve their respective students, faculty, staff, student-athletes, alumni, donors, community partners and athletics sponsors to consider other, more appropriate names, if any, to call the athletics rivalry between our two great universities.
I encourage your support and engagement in this naming transition, as we work to identify other areas where our references, practices and norms do not represent our values of diversity and inclusivity.
Edward J. Ray