Gonzaga admin asks students to rethink dressing as Mormon missionaries at the BYU game

Gonzaga admin asks students to rethink dressing as Mormon missionaries at the BYU game (Photo: Gonzaga Facebook)

(KUTV)- When college sports teams play Brigham Young University, the educational institution completely owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, fans and student sections are known to dress as a "Mormon Missionary."

One school, Gonzaga University, is trying to break this trend.

The schools' newspaper, The Gonzaga Bulletin, recently published an article about how Gonzaga admin is calling on their students to rethink Mormon missionary costumes at the BYU games.

According to the article, on Friday, Jan. 26, a meeting was held between members of the athletic department, university ministry and mission, student development, advancement and alumni, and the general counselor's office to discuss ways the school can eliminate the mockery and mimicking of Mormons.

Stated in the article, Colleen Vandenboom, assistant dean of student involvement and leadership, explains how "[Those costumes don't] really represent who we are as a university and it shines bad on us and doesn't show a welcoming community that supports everybody."

The Kennel Club, the school's student section, strongly feels that the missionary costumes many students wear degrades the Mormon faith. Claire Murphy, the Kennel Club's Board president knows that the school "can't stop anyone from doing it, but [they] need to put it on people's radars."

Murphy says, "A lot of times, people just need a little reminder or have a morality check of 'What do I actually stand for? Why am I wearing this?'"

Conversations about the inappropriateness of the costumes have been taking place since 2011 when BYU joined the WCC. The school says that while talks of change had been happening for years, the moment things actually changed was when Jesse Wade, a member of the LDS Church who also went on a mission, joined the men's basketball team.

"When we learned that [Wade] had been recruited to come here, we had to be legit. Like OK, we have been talking about it enough now, and not only is it embarrassing, but it's like, really? He's one of our community members," Vandenboom explained in the article.

The Gonzaga Bulletin states that during the upcoming game against BYU school officials will be monitoring the line of students waiting to enter the game looking for Mormon Missionary costumes.

While the school cannot force students to wear or not wear certain attire, Gonzaga says, "one thing is for sure: it will not go unnoticed."

The Gonzaga, BYU game will take place on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 7 PM.

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