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Canada McGill to announce decision on contentious Redmen team name in January

Posters with the slogan 'Get Your Red On' outside the McGill University athletic centre in Montreal on Nov. 13, 2018.

Dario Ayala/The Globe and Mail

McGill University says it will decide next month what to do about its sports teams’ divisive Redmen name.

The University’s provost says in a statement today he has received a report by a working group looking into commemoration and renaming practices at the university.

The report offers no definitive recommendation on renaming the men’s teams but says the test should be if the harm of keeping a name outweighs the good.

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Provost Christopher Manfredi says the administration will seek further input in the coming weeks before making a final decision.

In a November referendum, 79 per cent of students voted in favour of abandoning the Redmen name. The vote followed a campaign by Indigenous staff and students to drop a name they consider derogatory.

The Redmen name dates back to the 1920s and has been described as a tribute to the team’s red uniforms. But in the 1950s, men’s and women’s teams came to be referred to as the “Indians” or “Squaws,” and later some teams used a stylized logo with an Indigenous man wearing a headdress.

“The principles articulated by the report will be applied in the first instance to the question of renaming of our men’s varsity teams, the Redmen - a matter that has drawn particular attention in the last several months,” Manfredi said.

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