Should 'Axemen' stay? Community argues whether to change S. Eugene High team name

(NBC 16 image)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Community members gathered at South Eugene High School to weigh in on the Axemen team name and whether the name should be changed.

The opinions shared by community members and students had were across the board, but many strong arguments were given on both sides of the topic.

Those against said the name "Axemen" name excludes women, but those for keeping the name argued it reflects history and tradition of the area, saying the name "Axemen" is a symbol of strength.

"If Axemen was all gender-inclusive, then why would people feel the need to say 'Lady Axe' or 'Axewomen?' Those names aren't even really loud, they're just in the background, and that's how I feel with this mascot," said one attendee.

"This is my life, this is how I became a woman, this is what taught me how to be an adult today…was being an Axeman," said another.

"The name is exclusive, and we can't just deny that and not listen to those saying, 'No, this isn't working,'" another attendee said.

Yet another said: "The amount of money that would go into changing Axemen would not be useful to our education, as somebody already said."

South Eugene Principal Andy Dey now has a week to decide whether to recommend a name change to Superintendent Dr. Gustavo Balderas.

However, Principal Dey says the importance doesn't fall on making a decision in a certain amount of time, but rather on making the right choice.

"If in looking at this I don't have the time given all of the other things that are important that everybody referenced, then I'll make a request for more time, but we don't want this to stretch out indefinitely and distract us from what some would argue is equally or more important work."

The public has one last chance to vote on the name change in an online form.

The survey closed at midnight Thursday.

As of this Wednesday afternoon, almost 4,000 people have completed the online form.

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