UCO to consider revising fight song lyrics

The University of Central Oklahoma is convening a group of students and administrators to revise its fight song to make it more inclusive.

Adrienne Nobles, vice president for communication and public relations, stated UCO’s goal is to have it ready by the fall semester, just in time for the fall sports season.

“It’s great to have so many members of our Central community – students, faculty, staff and alumni – in alliance on enhancing inclusivity on campus,” Nobles said.

A 2008 UCO alumnus, the Rev. Harry D. Gatewood III, emailed the university to request changes be made but said UCO was already in the process of revising the fight song just two weeks prior to contacting them.

Nobles confirmed the process had started before being contacted by Gatewood.

Gatewood said it was all by coincidence after seeing it was national mascot day on June 17.

He said he went to UCO’s website to look at the university’s history when he saw the fight song used the terminology of boy.

“In most situations, the word “boy” is not a problem.  But used to describe a Black man, the word is troublesome. That’s because historically, White people routinely described Black men as boys to suggest that they were not equal to them,” Gatewood said.

“Both during and after slavery, Black people were not viewed as full-fledged people but as mentally, physically, and spiritually inferior beings to White’s. Calling Black men ‘boys,’ was one way to express a racist ideology of the past,” he added.

Cole Stanley, associate vice president for Student Affairs, stated that revising the fight song has been a very contemporary conversation for the UCO community.

“The school fight song has long been a traditional chant of unity and we want to make sure it reflects the spectrum of athletes representing us,” Stanley stated.

Currently, UCO’s fight song reads as:

“Fight boys, fight for UCO! Fight boys, fight today.

Fight for the team, boys. All full of steam, boys.

Hear our cheers for you: Go! Bronchos!

Fight, boys, fight for the Bronze and the Blue;

Fight, boys, fight today. Add one more victory to our team’s history.

U-C-O! Bronchos!”

Gatewood proposes the fight song version to be revised as:

“Fight, fight, fight for UCO! Fight, fight, fight today.

Fight for the team, we’re all full of steam.

Hear our cheers for you: Go! Bronchos!

Fight, fight, fight for the Bronze and Blue;

Fight, fight, fight today. Add one more victory to our team’s history.

U-C-O! Bronchos!”

Gatewood also stated the fight song isn’t inclusive to women.

“UCO Women Athletics are fighting with great pride as several of our UCO Women’s Sports teams are National Champions like the UCO Women’s Rowing Team or they are 2021 MIAA Divisional Champs like the: UCO Women’s Tennis Team, the UCO Softball team, and UCO Women’s Golf,” he stated in his email.

Gatewood said the Office of Diversity and Inclusion reached out to him to say they might bring his concerns to the Diversity Round Table. Gatewood also said UCO’s athletic director, Stan Wagnon, had reached out to him to say he was glad to hear his concerns.

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