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Common sense missing from Yale game program

Here is another example of how intelligence and common sense are not always related functions, especially when it comes to social consciousness and awareness.

On Saturday, Yale played Dartmouth in the 100th meeting between the Ivy League schools in football. It's not every year that schools have a centennial match up and Yale celebrated the occasion with a game program featuring renditions of eight historic covers from previous games between the schools.

Although Dartmouth is called "The Big Green," the school's sports team used the "unofficial" nickname – the Indians – starting in 1920s and ending in 1974 when the Trustees declared the "use of the (Indian) symbol in any form to be inconsistent with present institutional and academic objectives of a college advancing Native American education."

Obviously, Yale is not required to honor Dartmouth decisions, but, in 2005, the NCAA reviewed the controversy around the racial insensitivity of using Native Americans as sports mascots by 31 institutions and cited 19 as being considered "hostile" and/or "abusive."

Those schools were banned from displaying them at NCAA post-season events and told they could not host tournaments.

All of the schools except a few which were granted waivers when they received tribal support for their mascots based on the principle of Tribal Sovereignty changed their mascots. The point is that everyone knows of the controversy surrounding Native American mascots and the hurtful emotions they can attract.

With the covers from 49 previous home games with Dartmouth to choose from – including 20 since Dartmouth eliminated the Indian as a mascot in 1974 – Yale included four previous renditions of covers that feature Native Americans, with several being blatantly racist for this day and age.

Three had stereotypical cartoon images of Native Americans highlighting exaggerated noses, war paint and clothing.

The 1942 program had a bulldog (Yale's mascot) treeing a Native American, 1944 had a Yale football player setting a Native American's back side on fire and 1951 had a Native American fearfully running from the football team.

Somebody at Yale approved the program before it went to print and then was offered for sale.

Not surprisingly, somebody else was righteously offended.

Mary Kathryn Nagle, the executive director for the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts program, posted the program cover on social media complaining about the "dehumanization images of redface."

Yale students took to social media to agree.

That resulted in Yale Director of Athletics Thomas Beckett to issue a schoolwide email of apology.

"We apologize for yesterday's football game program cover that included historic artwork of insulting portrayals of indigenous people, images that we have long considered to be a violation of our values of mutual respect, equality, and decency," Beckett said in a statement. "We did not intend to perpetuate these portrayals or condone them.

"Our intention was to recognize the 100-game relationship between Dartmouth College and Yale University. We are truly sorry for the hurt this program cover caused, particularly for those from Native American communities. Yale Athletics is committed to representing the best of Yale and upholding the University's values, especially respect for all."

Beckett said there would be meetings with campus groups to address the issue.

Next time just use some common sense awareness that this is the 21st century and societal standards concerning what is acceptable have, thankfully, shifted.