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UNLV newspaper announces intent to change name

Posted at 11:17 AM, Apr 12, 2016

The student-run newspaper at UNLV has decided to change its name.

The newspaper, which is independently maintained, made the announcement in an editorial written by Editor-In-Chief Rene McCullough on April 11.

McCullough says she worked for the newspaper for 5 years before she realized that the name -- The Rebel Yell -- was the name of a Confederate battle cry.

Her editorial starts with the sentence "The name of our paper, The Rebel Yell, is racist."

The piece goes on to explain that after learning the history of the paper's name, McCullough spoke to the staff and discovered that others felt the same way.

McCullough admits that some of the university's and paper's alumni disagree. The Rebel Yell has been the name of the newspaper since it started 60 years ago.

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"We understand that changing the name now doesn’t repair the history. We would be shedding the name with the understanding that it no longer stands for who we are or who we would like to be."

Late last year, there was a push to change the name of UNLV's mascot, which is "Hey Reb!" Although it was not the first time that the school's nickname and the name of its mascot had been questioned, the new debate was spurred by Nevada Sen. Harry Reid calling on UNLV to change the name and other events around the country such as the Charleston church massacre.

However, the president of the university decided fairly quickly that the name would not be changed after UNLV's chief diversity officer released a 60-page report that concluded that the "Rebels" nickname and Hey Reb! do not have ties to the Confederacy.  The current mascot was based on western trailblazers in the 1800s.

Thousands of people also signed a petition started by two of the school's alumni to keep the name. 

The report did note that the student-produced newspaper's name was a Confederate reference, however.

RELATED: History of UNLV Mascot and Nickname

According to McCullough, the newspaper plans to change its name by the end of Spring 2017.

"We would like to be on the right side of history and we challenge the institution we cover and respect to follow suit."