Prof. Fabrice Labeau, Deputy Provost, Student Life and Learning, isn’t expecting to be overwhelmed—he’s hoping for it.
Last week, he put out an open call for 10 members of the McGill community to sit on a special committee that will lead the process of finding a new name for the men’s Varsity teams. The committee is seeking self-nominations as well as third-party nominations in order to maximize the number of qualified candidates.
“My ideal result would be receiving so many nominations, it’ll be a challenge to narrow it down to complete our committee,” says Labeau, who is looking for five current student-athletes, three student-athlete alumni, and two current varsity coaches.
The two committee co-chairs, Labeau and former McGill varsity head coach (and former CBC president) Hubert T. Lacroix, and two staff members of Athletics and Recreation, Geoffrey Phillips, Director of Sports Programs, and Phil Quintal, acting Executive Director, will choose successful candidates who reflect the University’s values of diversity, equity and inclusivity.
“We want a diverse committee with people who come to this with a positive attitude, who will be positive contributors to the discussion,” says Labeau.
The nomination period closes on November 6; the complete committee composition will be posted on the committee website.
In addition to the 14 voting members, the committee will include five ex-officio (non-voting) members: Louis Arseneault, Vice-Principal, Communications and External Relations; Julie Audette, Manager, Marketing and Communications, Athletics and Recreation; Bryan Buraga, SSMU President; Gabrielle Korn, Managing Director, Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, and Executive Director, McGill Alumni Association; and Dakota Rogers, PGSS Secretary-General.
The committee’s precise timeline and meeting schedule are yet to be determined, but the goal is to have a new name (and requisite branding) ready for the 2020-2021 season, which begins in late August. In broad strokes, the committee’s mandate will be to:
- Solicit input from focus groups and consultations, and collect suggestions for potential new names through an online submission form.
- Decide the qualities that are essential in a potential new name.
- Determine a short-list of possible names.
- Conduct due diligence (e.g., researching trademarks) as to the viability and suitability of short-listed names.
- Select a preferred name through two-thirds majority vote.
“The committee’s final output will be a report, to the Principal, in which we present a recommendation for a new name, and outline everything we did to converge on that name,” says Labeau.
Guiding principles for new territory
Labeau believes that this is the first time McGill has struck a committee to decide on a team name, “so I think it’s important to give it the space it needs, to get as much buy-in and participation as possible from our community.”
The committee’s core principles are openness, transparency, community participation, and a particular commitment to engaging with the student-athletes who will wear the new name, as well as coaches, alumni and the athletics support network.
“Outside of the sports community, clearly we will want to hear from the main student associations, and the people who led the ‘Change the Name’ campaign,” says Labeau, “and if people from outside McGill want to talk to the committee, we’ll make sure that we’re open to that.”
“We’ll send out a call for anybody who wants to talk to the committee to be able to do so. The idea behind this is that at the end of the process, I really want to avoid having anybody say ‘I have not been heard.’ So not everything the committee will hear will lead to an approval, but we want to hear everything.”
To nominate someone—or yourself—for the Men’s Varsity Teams Naming Process Committee, fill out the online nomination form. Nominations close Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 5 p.m.