CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA–On April 24, 2020, the University of Virginia announced a new look to their classic logos.
"In every mark in this new system I see us, & it is uniquely us. It is bold, creative, strong, innovative, competitive & fierce. It is exactly who we are, & I can't wait to share it with the rest of Wahoo Nation." @ADWilliamsUVA https://t.co/Cn5M0WSvH9#GoHoos #WeCavaliers 🔶🔷 pic.twitter.com/HTyPEoxITG
— Virginia Cavaliers (@VirginiaSports) April 24, 2020
The announcement was met with criticism. Immediately, fans took to social media to express their frustration.
Simply awful and a great of example of making a change just for the sake of making a change. No need to fix what isn’t broken
— Brian Gum (@briang3386) April 24, 2020
— Brian Hammond (@bhammond) April 24, 2020
A rising fourth-year student who wished to remain anonymous remarked, “I’ve never heard of a franchise rebranding during a winning era. Nobody had a problem with the logos before; there was no need for a change… Overall, it’s terrible.”
Is this some sort of late April Fools joke? pic.twitter.com/Vv4gMX55ou
— Still Natty Champs Barstool UVA (@BarstoolUVA) April 24, 2020
It did not take long after the announcement for the university to find itself in hot water. The “detail added to the handles [of the sabre] to mimic the serpentine walls on grounds” brings the university’s sordid past to the forefront. The serpentine walls in question were built to conceal noise from the slave quarters and make sure the enslaved workers were seen, but not heard.
man c'mon pic.twitter.com/FU1kkLMbpI
— the people's champion (@BenJammin73) April 24, 2020
“I’m just really disappointed to see our athletics division (which is one of the most outfacing parts of the university) support such a racist piece of infrastructure,” said a rising third-year student who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s pretty common knowledge that the serpentine walls are remnants of slavery, and formalizing that and celebrating it through athletics further perpetuates stereotypes that make me wonder how proud I should be to be a Cavalier.”
THE SERPENTINE WALLS??? What???? @UVA
Y’all do realize that the Serpentine walls functioned as a way of hiding/blocking the visibility of enslaved people (landscape of enslavement) from the students + the “Academical Village” ????🤦🏾♀️ Jesus Christ. Bad metaphors. Fix this! pic.twitter.com/raKuQs4zc6
— zyahna bryant. (@ZyahnaB) April 24, 2020
Other students took to Twitter to make fun of the new logos. “I feel like there was nothing wrong with the original logo, and it’s a great, simple classic logo. Paired with the fact that it alludes to painful parts of the University’s past, I feel it was just unnecessary,” said rising third-year student Stella Connaughton.
i would like to present the new logo for the univeristy of virginia, which, as you can see, is a university, of virginias pic.twitter.com/GyvwnKJ8mu
— hannah (@teamilknhoney) April 25, 2020
Not all of the feedback on the logos was negative. Many current and former UVA student-athletes took to Twitter to defend the new logos. This tweet from former basketball player Kyle Guy was retweeted by Athletics Director Carla Williams.
Yo these are fire. Idc what y’all saying 😂😂💪🏼 https://t.co/NQC5N6n1N1
— Kyle J Guy (@kylejguy) April 24, 2020
Even Maria Taylor, a prominent analyst for ESPN, announced her support of the rebrand.
— Maria Taylor (@MariaTaylor) April 24, 2020
Overall, the reactions to the new logos are mixed. It seems like the negative outweighs the positive, but it does not look like UVA is going to step down from their decision any time soon.