Hypocrisy Rules in KU Leadership Reaction to Osceola Resolution

From the Marble Hill Constitution-News:

On September 15th, 2011 the Columbia Daily-Tribune published an article that gained national attention in the news media. Who would have thought that the national spotlight would be on a small southwest Missouri town. But that is exactly what happened to Osceola, Missouri when the Tribune reported about a resolution passed by the Osceola Missouri City Council calling on the University of Kansas to drop the “Jayhawk” as its mascot. According to Rudy Keller (the Tribune reporter that broke the story):

“Osceola, a community of about 950 people in St. Clair County, has a message for the University of Kansas: It is time to consider dropping the mascot name “Jayhawk” and ending the school’s association with “a group of domestic terrorists.” “In a resolution the Osceola Board of Aldermen passed Tuesday — on the eve of the 150th anniversary of a Civil War raid by Kansans that destroyed the town — the city condemned “the celebration of this murderous gang of terrorists by an institution of ‘higher education’ in such a brazen and malicious manner.”

For most people, the events of Sept. 22-23, 1861, are a little-remembered episode in the larger guerrilla war in Missouri.

But the people of Osceola have never forgotten. “I grew up here, and it is all I heard about when I was attending grade school and high school,” Mayor Larry Hutsler said. “Everyone knew who was responsible.”

The reaction from the University of Kansas was short, sweet and rather uncaring, Keller quoted the KU News service director writing that, “In an emailed comment on the resolution, KU News Service Director Jill Jess said: “A Jayhawk is a blue bird with a red head and a big yellow beak that wears boots. It would be hard to confuse it with anyone with terrorist intent, though we admit we have been terrorizing the Tigers on the basketball court for some time. Tigers have been known to kill people. Bears, too.”

It is a form of hypocrisy, if you will. Hypocrisy because Kansas has always claimed the victim status in William Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, Ks in August 1863, but few are willing to admit that Sen. Jim Lane’s “Jayhawker” raid on Osceola  was one of the major causes for the raid on Lawrence.

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little’s response was as equally tart. In a “Fireside Chat” interview with Kansan.Com (published Sept. 18, 2011) Chancellor Little, in response to be questioned about the Osceola resolution replied by saying “We considered their suggestions yesterday from 5 p.m. to 5:01 p.m. It has been taken into consideration. We are not planning on eliminating the Jayhawk name from our mascot. I hope the people of Osceola have some worthwhile things to do. And we take that suggest with the spirit in which it was sent.”

The response can certainly be described as “uncaring”. Ironic given the fact that in an article published on June 20, 2009 by the Topeka Capital-Journal ( “At the helm: Bernadette Gray-Little New chancellor plans to reduce spending while trying to get KU designated as cancer institute” ) Little was described as having a “reputation at UNC for dealing with problems in a positive, straight-forward manner” by Richard Mann, vice chancellor for finance and administration at UNC. Who stated that he had known Little for 21 1/2 years.

It is also stated in the June 20, 2009 Topeka Capital-Journal article that Little’s starting salary was to be set at ” $425,000 — $267,177 in state funds and $157,823 from private sources” One would think that the generous salary (along with her reputation for getting things done in a positive manner” , Chancellor Little would have given the issue somewhat more attention than the 60 seconds she publicly stated she devoted to the Osceola resolution.

On Monday September 19, 2011 I attempted to contact Chancellor Little regarding her views on the Osceola resolution, in the email I asked:

“Given the fact that Ole Miss University recently dropped its “Colonel” mascot due to complaints from the African-American community (which were similar to the complaints that the City of Osceola has against the KU mascot) ; What would your reaction have been if the Chancellor at Ole Miss issued a statement saying that that they considered dropping the Colonel mascot from 5:00pm-5:01 pm and that they were not going to do away with it? “

Apparently, Chancellor Little is devoting more than 60 seconds to my question, I have yet to receive a response from her- Editor

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One response

  1. Just a blue bird! Right! And Colonel Reb at the U. of Miss. was just a quaint old gentleman leaning on a cane.

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