Mascot Decision Information
To the Cambridge Central School District community,
The name and mascot/logo discussion have certainly become a contentious issue in our community. Given where we are to date, we felt it was important to outline what has occurred since July 2020 so that you are well-informed.
In July 2020, a petition was posted on Change.org asking the district to review and retire the Indian name and logo here at CCS. Little was addressed until October 2020 because we at CCS were not aware that the petition existed until that time. In late October, the author of the petition, Mr. John Kane, emailed the district and asked to be put on the agenda to address the BOE. The initial request was denied since it was outside the timeline for formal approval of agenda items. However, the author did come to the November 12 meeting and provided comments during the open public forum. At that time, several community members also spoke asking for the name and logo to be retired. In addition, several other community members requested that the board keep the name and mascot.
Later that month, both Mr. John Kane and Mr. Dillion Honyoust formally requested time on the next BOE agenda; Mr. Kane to speak about retiring the name and mascot, and Mr. Honyoust to speak in favor of keeping the name and mascot. During this meeting, many community members also spoke passionately for both sides of the issue during public comment. The board also requested at the meeting that the Superintendent develop a timeline for study, discussion, and deciding on the future of the Indian name and mascot. You can find the resulting initial timeline, adopted by the BOE in December 2020, in the links at the left-hand side of this page.
As time passed, the BOE members and the superintendent received large quantities of emails, articles, and research papers for study and discussion. As of the January 14, 2021, BOE meeting, the board had been sent 3 packets of information for review by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Silvernell. During discussion at the meeting, one BOE member opposed the adopted timeline and began to question the process. However, the BOE decided to stick with the original timeline presented and Dr. Silvernell continued to send informational packets (seven all together) to the BOE members. These packets can be found on the page links to the left of this page.
The BOE reviewed and discussed the messages presented in the seven packets of mascot materials. One board member in particular expressed concern for the original decision-making process and continued to advocate for redesigning the process to allow community members more opportunity to hear each other. In the end, the BOE once again decided to keep to the original timeline which called for a March 11 board vote on whether or not to keep the Indian name and mascot.
Debate and heated discussion escalated throughout the community. Much of this debate occurred on social media. However, the community also continued to weigh in on the discussion through many emails, letters, phone calls, and meetings with Dr. Silvernell and some of the BOE members.
As the March BOE meeting approached, the BOE reassessed the emotional temperature in the community and ultimately opted to alter the timeline to allow for additional community engagement. At its meeting on March 11, 2021, the BOE adopted the following resolution to provide for additional dialogue between community members, with a focus on listening and understanding (not necessarily agreeing with) all points of view. The resolution read as follows:
Be it resolved that the Cambridge CSD BOE hereby directs the Superintendent to develop a process to engage outside facilitation to facilitate community conversations to provide the BOE with an understanding of all stakeholder beliefs around the use of the term “Indian” and the use of Native American imagery to inform the board’s decision to retire or not retire our current mascot and nickname by the close of the 2020-2021 school year.
You can find Dr. Silvernell’s address and notes for that meeting as well as President Gifford’s and Member Ziehm’s statements in the links to the left.
Since that meeting, the district administrative team has been reaching out to third-party facilitation groups to redesign the process and the timeline. This process will involve community engagement. Once this timeline has been finalized, it will be shared and posted here with an invitation for any and all parties to participate in the process.
We implore you to continue to stay engaged with this process as we embark on civil discourse. As new information is gathered, and as we summarize our findings from the community engagement, they too will be posted on this site.