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Nov 18, 2014 11:44 AM EST

University of Delaware Student Newspaper to Nix 'Lady' When Referring to Women's Sports Teams


The student newspaper at the University of Delaware (UD) has announced it will no longer use the term "Lady" when referring to the Hens women's sports teams.

The paper came to their decision after receiving a letter to the editor from a class of '12 alum named James Wiles. The UD Review announced its newest editorial policy shortly after, calling the term "discriminatory."

UD's mascot is the Blue Hens and the paper noted that "Lady Hens" is redundant since hens are female. They also opined that differentiating the women's teams from the men's diminishes the former's accomplishments.

For example, they highlighted Elena Delle Donne, a female basketball player now in the WNBA and one of UD's greatest athletes. Another example was Laura Travis, who coached the tennis team as the first woman to lead a men's team at UD.

"The men's teams are not called the 'Mister Hens' or 'Gentlemen Hens' though that would be interesting and more logical, given the above point on Hens' genders," Wiles wrote. "Instead, the men's teams are somehow solely entitled to the general term Hens, without a gender specific qualifier. Both men's and women's teams represent the university, so shouldn't they both simply be called Blue Hens?"

As the Huffington Post noted, the University of Tennessee has made a similar shift, only theirs was a school decision instead of a newspaper's editorial choice. In an announcement last week, Tennessee said "all sports other than women's basketball will compete under the name, 'Tennessee Volunteers'" starting in the 2015-2016 academic year as the school undergoes a "branding restructure" and a shift from Adidas to Nike.

The women's basketball team will be left to be referred to as the "Lady Vols" as a tip of the cap to Pat Summitt, one of the greatest coaches in women's collegiate basketball history.

"One Tennessee has united all the athletic programs here at the University of Tennessee," Lady Vols head basketball coach Holly Warlick said in the release. "The value of this bonding enriches the support we can offer to all student-athletes. We now have unlimited access to our tremendous facilities and programs that not only benefit our current athletes while also promoting our pursuit of excellence to future prospects."

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