To the editor:
I am a 1961 alumnus of Southeast Missouri State University. My years at SEMO were full of pride to be an Indian. The Indian athletic team name was one of honor, respect and inspiration. Having Chief Sagamore on the heights overlooking Houck Stadium was a dignified start to every football game.
I don't know when all of this politically correct business started at SEMO, but it has not made the university stronger. I believe just the opposite is true. Tradition is a stronger force that some would have us think. Changing a name does not necessarily make something better.
From a very young age I learned great respect for Indians. In Boy Scouts, many ceremonies and events were attributed to Indians. The qualities of honor, bravery, survivability, spirituality and character are what were attributed to the Indians. To have been a member of teams called Indians through high school and college has been a source of pride.
If imposed political correctness has brought us to the point of having my university identified with some goofy character running around at athletic events, I will feel embarrassed to the same degree I felt in the pride of being an Indian and what once was a strong, solid, educational institution.
It is my opinion that it is more incorrect and racially prejudiced at this point in time for the university to disassociate itself from the very honorable title of Indians.
RICHARD A. DECKER