Nancy Monahan, who had been the lone vote to retain it in September, said she believed the Radnor community “fully supports retirement of the imagery,” but that the “name never had its day in court,” and excluding it from the choices was “not being inclusive.” Until the Raider “is allowed to be an option, it will continue to be an issue,” she said.
After five hours, the board voted 6 to 3 to not include the Raider name in the list of choices.
Perhaps one upside of the palaver is that Radnor residents have become more politically engaged. Typically sleepy board meetings now draw thousands of attendees, and four Republicans in the community are running for four seats held currently by Democrats, including Ms. Stern, that are up for re-election in November.
“We have lived here a long time but resent what’s happening to our town,” said Ms. Foran, the ’79 alum and one candidate, in a phone interview. “I don’t want to come off as a white supremacist. I want the Raider because it means something to me and because I’ve lived here for 60 years. It’s important to me. There are much larger diversity and inclusion issues in Radnor. Like, let’s get diversity on the teaching staff. Instead, we are spending all this time on a Raider name. It’s unconscionable.”
The committee whittled down the non-Raider nominees to 57, including Rangers, the fictional Rydell team name. After running the names by community focus groups — “a train wreck,” said Ms. Griffin, “made up of people who are most passionate about it and were never going to support the other opinion” — the committee cut the list to eight: Dragons, Griffins/Gryphons, Hawks, Phoenix, Rain Frogs, Raptors, Ruckus and the letter R.
From there, Radnor’s eighth to 12th graders viewed an explanatory PowerPoint in homeroom of the eight names and voted online for their top four. They chose: Griffins/Gryphons, Raptors, Ruckus and R.
On Friday, June 11, the same 1,500 students had their first round of final voting online. In the days preceding the vote, students lobbied for R, handing out “We R Radnor” buttons in school. Anti-Raider supporters claimed the R was a pro-Raider symbol, like a racist dog whistle.