New committee to promote sportsmanship among fans
By Lesley Covington
Representatives from various branches of the UNCP community are addressing a potential problem at UNCP football games: offensive and disruptive behaviors.
Two activities in particular are being singled out for discussion: the tomahawk chop and foul language.
Complaints are coming from inside the UNCP community, according to staff in Student Development.
“This is coming from the students,” said Dr. Tom Corti, assistant vice chancellor for Student Development.
Dr. Corti is facilitating the organization of a committee to address these activities.
The committee consists of representatives from alumni, athletics, cheerleaders, Greek organizations, the Student Government Association and the Department of Police and Public Safety, according to Dr. Corti.
“We also want to add students from the Native American organization,” Dr. Corti said.
The theme the organization wishes to establish on campus is: “Pembroke fans make us proud,” according to Dr. Corti.
“We want to have a good time at sporting events but also show good sportsmanship and show respect for all groups,” said Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
“We [the university] would ask that the students show respect for the values of others and not to display any activity that might be offensive to others,” Dr. Jones continued.
Dr. Corti and Dr. Jones expressed concern for children at UNCP sporting events who may be exposed to inappropriate behavior by students.
“Our sporting events are all family activities,” Dr. Jones said.
Disruptive and disorderly conduct is a violation of the university’s code of conduct.
Students may be cited for the use of foul language.
“When they are engaging in offensive or disruptive speech or conduct, they are in violation of their code of conduct,” Dr. Jones said.
There has been one incident where campus police had to escort two students from the stands at a football game, according to Chief McDuffie Cummings of the Department of Police and Public Safety.
Each student received a campus citation for the use of vulgar language during a university event.
“This case had well crossed the limits,” Cummings said.
“Other than that one situation, we had a wonderful season,” Cummings said.
Per game there were an average of 30 officers present, plus local fire department and rescue squad agents to be on hand to assist in the dousing of tailgating fires, according to Cummings.
“We have been pleasantly pleased that it [tailgating] has not created any major problems,” Dr. Jones said.
“We have found students to be very responsible. I think they understand that this is a privilege. It’s not a right,” Dr. Jones continued.
The tomahawk chop is not an original concept of UNCP fans.
The tomahawk chop, as used at sporting events, gained national attention with the Boston Braves and moved to Atlanta with the team.
The chop, aided by foam hatchets and Chief Knockahoma, are standing traditions with that team.
Chief Knockahoma appears as a goodwill ambassador to visitors on Braves-Nation.com.
His tepee in the outfield was retired before the 1986 season.
The chop is also used by the Florida State University Seminoles.
The committee had its first meeting on Nov. 8. Dr. Corti said they plan to be fully operational by January.