• Group starts petition to change Georgia Tech's fight song

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    ATLANTA - Ahead of this weekend’s homecoming, the Georgia Tech campus is buzzing about a push to change the lyrics of the school’s famous fight song.
     
    “We are still dressing her in white and gold, we are still putting her on campus but she is joining the brave and bold,” said Kim Cobb, a Georgia Tech professor at the school of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
     
    Kim is among several female professors behind an initiative to change one word in the school’s fight song. 
     
    The original lyrics is the following:

    “Oh! If I had a daughter, sir, I’d dress her in white and gold, And put her on the campus to cheer the brave and bold.”
     
    The professors want to change the word “cheer” to “join.”
     
    “There is nothing wrong with being a cheerleader. In fact, that is a critical role on campus,” Cobb said, “but those women are just not here just to be cheerleaders. They are here to be fully functioning members of the Georgia Tech community.”
     
    So far, according to the initiative’s website, the group has about 1,600 signatures.
     
    “What we are trying to do is shift the focus of the role of the woman in the song (from) a cheerleader to a full participant,” Cobb said.

    In a schoolwide poll, which included undergraduates, graduates, faculty, staff and alumni, about 71 percent did not want to see the lyrics changed, whereas 28.71 percent did. Among faculty, the poll was 50/50.
     
    “I like the tradition of Georgia Tech so I’d kind of like to keep the fight song the way it is,” said Zach Melda, a student.
     
    Professor Annie Anton, who is chairwoman of the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech, is one of only two female department heads.  However, Anton does not believe changing the lyrics will have an effect on promoting and supporting female faculty on campus.
     
    “I don’t think that’s the real concern. My concern is to make sure the women faculty and staff are supported,” Anton told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman.
     
    Anton wrote an editorial in the Georgia Tech newspaper, suggesting that faculty members focus their attention on creating an institutewide task force to address gender equity.
     
    “It is lonely being the only woman in the room,” she said.
     
    A representative for Georgia Tech released this statement:

    “Georgia Tech’s famous fight song, 'Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech,' has been a Georgia Tech tradition for more than a century. Based on an old English and Scottish drinking song, it is a reflection of the time in which it was written and is a historical document.

    Through the years, various components of the song have been called into question, including the reference to alcohol and use of the word “hell.” This fall, a faculty member who is supporting changing the word “cheer” to “join” initiated a webpage and online petition. There is also another petition that has been started on a public petitioning website, to maintain the current fight song lyrics. Neither of the petitions is an official Institute initiative. There are no plans to change the fight song at this time.”

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