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Offensive, sexist intramural team names banned for next season

By Chris Adams, October 30 2014 —

Students’ Union faculty of arts representative Lexi Narowski successfully lobbied to ban offensive team names for University of Calgary intramural sports teams that she says perpetuate rape culture.

Names like Frigid Whore, Cunning Stunts and Beats by Ray — referencing former NFL player Ray Rice who recently assaulted his fiancé — will not be allowed during the winter intramural sport season.

“I felt like the intramural team names perpetuated rape culture and sexist behaviour. I wanted to make sure that all the intramural teams were creating an inclusive environment for all students,” Narowski said. “By having names like that, they weren’t.”

Narowski learned about the team names from a friend involved with intramural flag-football. She said players acted sexist.

“I didn’t actually know the extent of how bad the team names were until I looked into it,” Narowski said.

After learning about the team names, Narowski contacted the faculty of kinesiology’s Active Living office, who run the intramural program. Teams referencing alcohol or drugs, invasive or violent acts, that are sexually explicit, or demeaning to race, religion, sexual orientation and national origin are now banned.

Team captains will be notified of the changes at the start of the winter season. Active Living will look at team names as they sign up. If any are considered offensive, teams will be asked to change them.

But faculty of kinesiology communications and marketing director Don McSwiney said that teams will have to self-regulate.

“We will check the names to the best of our ability and we hope that’s going to be enough to catch it,” McSwiney said.

McSwiney said they have never regulated intramural team names and have never received complaints until now.

“I think the policy in the past has sort of been, ‘well, we’re all adults here.’ Some people are more adult than others apparently,” McSwiney said. “In the case where somebody is actually offended by something, it becomes an issue that we have to look at in terms of our fiduciary responsibility.”

Consent Awareness and Sexual Education club president Emily Leedham said individual actions are essential to make university life more inclusive.

“[People] trying to ensure that our language reflects the progressive state of our society, — if you’re against that, I think you’re part of the problem and you’re holding us back,” Leedham said.

Leedham saluted Narowski for “recognizing the small ways that we can show that we really are a progressive campus that does not tolerate these sort of offensive terminologies.”

The winter season of intramural sports starts in January.

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