BGSU Firelands Professor Examines Cleveland Indians Logo

Huron, Ohio – As summer fades into fall, the Cleveland Indians are battling to regain the American League title and hopefully a World Series championship too; however, Bowling Green State University Firelands College’s associate professor of sociology Tim Jurkovac has been researching a completely different kind of battle in Cleveland.

Born and raised in Northern Ohio, Jurkovac is an avid fan and follower of the Cleveland Indians and baseball in general; but more recently he has taken interest in the Cleveland Indians’ utilization of Native American imagery and the controversy surrounding the issue.

“The Cleveland Indians remain one of the few professional sports franchises to appropriate Native American imagery,” said Jurkovac in reference to the Chief Wahoo logo.

As a child, Jurkovac felt Chief Wahoo was just silly, but now he understands the implications are far more serious.

“Many believe Chief Wahoo is offensive and it trivializes the culture and experiences of Native Americans,” said Jurkovac who often incorporates baseball themes into his popular Sociology of Sports course.

According to Jurkovac, both the team name and Chief Wahoo continue to elicit protest from Native American groups and professional organizations such as the American Sociological Association and the American Psychological Association, but little has changed beyond the minimalist solution of occasionally replacing Chief Wahoo on the hats in favor of the Block C.

In a release last year, team officials said,” We are very cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the conversation — our fans’ deep, long-lasting attachment to the memories associated with Chief Wahoo and those who are opposed to its use.”

Jurkovac believes the team remains on the wrong side of this ongoing debate.

While team officials at times seem to be apathetic to the issue, community response to the debate varies greatly with passionate supports on both sides.  Protestors can often be found outside the stadium on game days, however, Jurkovac points out that sales of merchandise with the Chief Wahoo logo surpass sales of merchandise with the Block C or other images.

Jurkovac believes there is a feasible solution and he presented his research this summer at the 29th Annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture in New York.  His research, titled Symbols Matter: It’s Time for the Cleveland Indians to Retire the Franchise Name and Logo, was well accepted.

The Symposium is widely accepted as the most prestigious conference in the nation on the subject matter and this marks Jurkovac’s second presentation at the conference.  In 2012 he attended the Symposium to share his research paper Celebrating Nostalgia, Legalizing Extortion and Subsidizing Greed: The Hegemony of the Retro Ballpark, which shed a revealing light onto the sinister side of the construction of new ballparks.

Within his current research, Jurkovac compares the events which transpired in 2016 at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota to underscore his position on the use of Chief Wahoo by the Cleveland Indians.

“What linked a summer of celebration in Cleveland to one of confrontation in the Dakota badlands was a convergence of cultural appropriation and racial disenfranchisement that were by no means mutually exclusive.  Each narrative illustrates the ongoing assault on native peoples over the past four centuries, a brutal history of colonialization, broken treaties, disease and war that the team and the country continue to ignore,” said Jurkovac.

Jurkovac believes past debates on the topic have done little to offer solutions; however, he presents one which he believes would satisfy both sides of the debate.

“The franchise can opt to no longer align themselves with social injustice while still preserving their history by changing the franchise name to the Cleveland Tribe and permanently retiring Chief Wahoo in favor or the current Block C,” said Jurkovac.

According to Jurkovac, fans, media and the baseball community already acknowledge this name and make use of it when referencing the team (e.g., “It’s Tribe time!”).

While acknowledging that this may not be the ideal solution, Jurkovac believes his beloved Cleveland Indians could become a mechanism of hope and change rather than perpetuating centuries old social injustices.

“Perhaps, just perhaps, a resolution such as this could help launch in some meaningful way a more sincere and thoughtful discourse about the substantive issues of systemic poverty, alienation and injustice still rampant in countless Native American communities,” said Jurkovac.

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BGSU Firelands is a regional campus and one of eight colleges of Bowling Green State University.  Offering 14 associate degrees, eight complete bachelor’s degrees, and a variety of one-year certificate programs and training opportunities, BGSU Firelands puts education within reach for all community members.  Located in Huron, Ohio, the scenic regional campus offers the advantages of a personalized education with the resources of a much-larger university.

Ballot Issues Information Forum at BGSU Firelands

Huron, Ohio – In advance of the November elections, Bowling Green State University Firelands College will host an information forum on Ohio Ballot Issues #1 and #2 on Monday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. in the Cedar Point Center at the Huron campus.

Issue #1 is a proposal on rights for crime victims.  Support for the Issue will be presented by Kevin Baxter, Erie County prosecutor, and Sheriff Paul Sigsworth from Erie County.  Information will also be provided on opposition to the Issue.

Issue #2 is a proposal to require state agencies to not pay more for prescription drugs than the federal Department of Veterans Affairs and require state payment of attorney fees and expenses to specific individuals for defense of the law.

The Issue #2 discussion will feature Dale Butland, spokesman for Ohioans Against Deceptive RX Ballot Issue, and Dennis Willard, spokesman for Yes on Issue 2.

The evening will be moderated by Lee McLaird, a current member of the State Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of Ohio and past president of the League of Women Voters of Bowling Green.

A voter registration table will also be available at the event.

The Information Forum is sponsored by BGSU Firelands and the League of Women Voters.  The event is free and open to the public.

– 30 –

BGSU Firelands is a regional campus and one of eight colleges of Bowling Green State University.  Offering 14 associate degrees, eight complete bachelor’s degrees, and a variety of one-year certificate programs and training opportunities, BGSU Firelands puts education within reach for all community members.  Located in Huron, Ohio, the scenic regional campus offers the advantages of a personalized education with the resources of a much-larger university.

BGSU Firelands Presents College Night Program

HURON, Ohio – Bowling Green State University Firelands College will host the 47th Annual College Night on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

At College Night, attendees will have the opportunity to meet admissions representatives from more than 60 colleges, universities and schools of nursing.

The program is free and open to the public, but highly recommended for all high school juniors and seniors.  College Night will be held in the Cedar Point Center and parking is available in the lot adjacent to the building.

“College Night at BGSU Firelands represents our commitment to ensuring college completion for local families,” said Dr. Megan Zahler, assistant dean for strategic enrollment planning.  “Although many high school students just started classes, it is never too early to begin researching college options and College Night is an ideal opportunity to start,” added Zahler.

For more information, contact the BGSU Firelands Office of Admissions at 419‑433‑5560 ext. 20686 or 800‑322‑4787 or e-mail: fireadm@bgsu.edu

– 30 –

BGSU Firelands is a regional campus and one of eight colleges of Bowling Green State University.  Offering 14 associate degrees, eight complete bachelor’s degrees, and a variety of one-year certificate programs and training opportunities, BGSU Firelands puts education within reach for all community members.  Located in Huron, Ohio, the scenic regional campus offers the advantages of a personalized education with the resources of a much-larger university.

 

BGSU Firelands ElderCollge Kickoff Features Comedian/Magician

Huron, Ohio – The kickoff of the ElderCollege fall semester is set for Wednesday, Sept. 6 from 1:30-3 p.m., in the Cedar Point Center at Bowling Green State University Firelands College.

The Kickoff event will feature Michael Mage, two-time award winning Cleveland performer known as a comedian stuck in a magician’s shoes. His interactive shows incorporate comedy and endless audience participation throughout. You have to see to believe!

With more than 130 members, ElderCollege at BGSU Firelands is designed to promote lifelong learning for adults 50 years of age and beyond from all educational and socio-economic backgrounds.  There are no academic requirements to join ElderCollege, and there are no tests or grades. Individuals simply attend for the enjoyment of learning.

More than twenty-five classes are planned for the fall. Topics range from educational nature walks and area tours to astrology, and from Asian art to the Trump presidency. A complete course list can be reviewed at www.firelands.bgsu.edu/eldercollege.

Individuals can enroll in ElderCollege for a fee of $70 per semester or $110 for two semesters, which entitles them to attend unlimited classes during the selected period.  Non-members can participate by paying a minimal fee per class-typically $20.

For more information about the ElderCollege Fall Kickoff, contact Tracy DeFazio in the Office of Educational Outreach at 419-372-0617 or by email at tracyd@bgsu.edu.

– 30 –

BGSU Firelands is a regional campus and one of eight colleges of Bowling Green State University.  Offering 15 associate degrees, nine complete bachelor’s degrees, two master’s degree programs, and a variety of one-year certificate programs and training opportunities, BGSU Firelands puts education within reach for all community members.  Located in Huron, Ohio, the scenic regional campus offers the advantages of a personalized education with the resources of a much-larger university.

 

Zahler Named Assistant Dean at BGSU Firelands

Huron, Ohio – Bowling Green State University Firelands College has promoted Megan Zahler to the position of assistant dean for strategic enrollment planning.

Working closely with leadership at both the Bowling Green and Firelands campuses, the assistant dean will supervise all admissions and student services functions of the College.

“This position will allow for a coordination of services and initiatives that, historically, has been difficult to achieve. I am confident that bringing these two units together under Megan’s leadership and expertise will yield immediate results,” said BGSU Firelands Dean Andy Kurtz.

Zahler has been at BGSU Firelands since 2013 when she was hired as the coordinator of career services.  She most recently served as the interim director of strategic enrollment management, replacing long-time director Deborah Divers who retired in February 2017.

Prior to joining BGSU Firelands, Zahler was the associate director of the undergraduate division at The Wharton School, Philadelphia, and coordinator of career services and student life at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Zahler earned a doctorate degree in higher education administration from Widener University, Chester, Pa., a master’s degree in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from The College of New Jersey, Ewing Township.

– 30 –

BGSU Firelands is a regional campus and one of eight colleges of Bowling Green State University.  Offering 14 associate degrees, eight complete bachelor’s degrees, and a variety of one-year certificate programs and training opportunities, BGSU Firelands puts education within reach for all community members.  Located in Huron, Ohio, the scenic regional campus offers the advantages of a personalized education with the resources of a much-larger university.

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