Clothing and branding pulled as re-naming of student section receives criticism

Newswire photo by Sydney Sanders | The controversial re-branding of the student section and accompanying X-shirts as “The Holy Land” has received criticism and concerns about its historic connections and implications for non-Christian students.


The X-Treme Fans faced backlash last week after they revealed the new name of the student section of the Cintas Center. The name, that students voted on, was “The Holy Land.” Additionally, shirts were released with the title “The Holy Land” and swords on the front (above), while the back brandished the phrase “Unfazed by Unbelievers” and “Unlimited in Ascendance” (below), a move that some say harkens back to the violence of the Crusades.

“I was very surprised by my initial reaction. I would expect to be insulted or angry, but I was more hurt… I was holding back tears,” Tala Ali, Muslim chaplain at the Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice, said. “The reason, I think, is that I associate Xavier with feeling safe and being very fortunate… I think that Xavier is the best local university for a Muslim student to be.”

Ali said that the student section’s new name insinuates an “us versus them” mentality. “It leads me to question ‘who is us, and who is them?’ Do you see me as the other? Are you unfazed by me?”

There is no information on how many levels of approval the shirts and the naming of the student section went through. X-Treme Fans was unable to comment after multiple attempts by the Newswire to make contact.

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Ali explained that she consulted Muslim students who felt scared and angry. They said they felt like outsiders on campus already, and this incident perpetuated that feeling.

“It’s an ignorant act, but I didn’t feel threatened by it,” Deena Dakhiel, a senior communications major, said. “However, coming from a Jesuit university, how could you not know that was inappropriate? I understand that the majority of people who go to this school are Christian, but by having those shirts go through, it feels like a slap in the face to the Muslim and Jewish communities who are already under-acknowledged.”

Ali added that this re-branding plays into a larger cultural issue that Muslims already face.

“Especially when you put this in the context of our current political climate with increasing Islamophobia trends, that’s already in the psyche of a Muslim student. This is already something that a Muslim thinks about when we go grocery shopping,” Ali said. “We get things yelled at us from passing cars, we get funny looks, we get people who shake their head in disappointment. To have to lived that experience with that political climate outside of Xavier, and then for this to happen in our safe bubble, is something that could be distressing for a Muslim student.”

In a statement to the Newswire, Associate Athletic Director for Communications Tom Eiser stated, “After receiving negative feedback and discussing with campus leadership, the decision was made to not name the student section for the 2017-18 school year.” He went on to say, “All sales of t-shirts and other branding of that name ended.”

This controversy comes after a particularly tumultuous year with regard to racial and religious tensions on campus. In October of 2016, a white student put on blackface and made racially insensitive comments about the Black Lives Matter movement on their Snapchat story. Later that month, a skeleton decoration wearing dashiki (a traditional West African tunic) was seen hanging by what appeared to be a rope next to a Trump sign in Fenwick. Last spring semester, a residence bulletin board in Brockman Hall was vandalized with a swastika.


By: Savin Mattozzi ~Copy Editor~

7 comments

  1. Is this a real story? …Really?!

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with using the words “Holy Land” in this context. We’re not about to launch another Crusade from the seats of Cintas Center.

    The Era of Everybody Being Offended is becoming rather trite and tiresome. And by the way; here’s something else to get the campus snowflakes triggered: http://holylandofhoops.com

    Holy Land of Hoops is a great messageboard for Xavier fans, Big East fans, and other normal people.

    • Hi TC! No worries, comments aren’t getting censored on this story or any story. Comments are currently getting mass-approved every Tuesday each week because the editor (me!) is currently super busy. There has only been two comments on this story, your’s and one other, and I just approved both of them. Let me know if you have any other issues!

  2. So glad to hear X reversed course on this. The name was offensive and tone deaf. Hopefully another year to think and reflect will bring about better results.

  3. A note from a Mascot Alumni,

    [Note: This note was originally written last fall, but feels just as relevant today]

    Back in 2001, the Cintas Center, still in its infancy, was quickly becoming one of the nations “Toughest Places to Play”. Thad Matta had just taken over as head coach, and National Player of the Year David West was cementing Xavier’s place in the basketball world. It was also the year that myself and two roommates took the reigns as the school’s mascots, both as D’Artagnan and the fan-favorite Blue Blob.

    In our four years as mascots, the Muskies made the NCAA tournament 3 times, and went on ‘The Run’ that included ending St. Joe’s undefeated season, beating Dayton on their floor for the A-10 title, and an improbably run to the Elite Eight. And behind the team every step of the way were the X-Treme Fans.

    And that tradition continues today. The X-Treme fans come to the games ready to go! The shirts, the organized cheers, the giant cutouts of Fr. B, the Popes, the handouts with information about visiting players, the pizza, taking the Blob crowd-surfing, and of course, the NOISE. It is always there, every game, every time, and it really makes a difference. The X-Treme fans are the best in the country – no doubt about it.

    So why this Editorial? It has come to our attention that Kingsgate Transportation is sponsoring a rebranding of the X-Treme Fans, as the potential names are up for vote. And the most important, most obvious name isn’t on that list. During the pregame segment of every televised sport event, while going over the ‘Keys to the Game,’ one of the commentators always quips, “The X-Factor here is these rabid home fans, they’ll really get in the heads of the vising team, watch for that when the game is close.” The fans are always the X-Factor. And there is only one school in the country with a logo and a name that so happens to be an X. We ARE the X-Factor! Let’s own it!

    Our senior year, my roommates and I raised $5,000 to design and build the D’Artagnan costume that you see at the games today. We are very proud of leaving that small bit of legacy behind. For years we have argued that the student section should be called the X-Factor…and hope that you agree. Let your voice be heard, vote for the X-Factor as the new name for our student section!

    Cheers to the X-Treme fans, thank you for always making the Cintas Center one of the most lively, most exciting places to be on game day. May you enjoy your time as students, it goes by quickly, and if you do it right, you’ll always look back with fond memories of Saturday afternoons screaming at Butler players about how a clock works. This year feels prime for another ‘Run’…I hope to see you all in Phoenix at the Final Four!

    Your Former D’Artangan,

    Fun Fact – Like David West, the Blob also turned pro, and just wrapped up his 15th season with the Bengals as Who Dey

  4. I mean really? How far down the liberal hole has this university gone? It’s a funny name. That’s it. It’s three words! First the popes get banned back in 09-10 and now this gets changed? Xavier has lost my support as a conservative catholic. It caters to all these damn snowflakes that make a big deal about every little thing. What the heck has this world come to? You guys goi g to kick out the guy that dresses as a pope for the crosstown? Shameful.

  5. Wait until Tala Ali finds out that there are crucifixes in the classrooms at Xavier. Cue the fake outrage machine!

    Hey, maybe Generation Snowflake’s self-appointed mouthpiece Deena Dakhiel can provide Tala Ali with a suitable safe space that contains no Catholic imagery, themes, or beliefs. Wouldn’t want to trigger another meltdown, right?

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