Wyoming's Cowboy Slogan Called ‘Racist’

July 9, 2018 02:49 PM
“The world needs more cowboys,” the new slogan at the University of Wyoming, is drawing criticism as racist, sexist and counterproductive to recruiting out-of-state students.

A new slogan at the University of Wyoming – “The world needs more cowboys” – is drawing criticism as racist, sexist and counterproductive to recruiting out-of-state students.

Associate professor Christine Porter told The Laramie Boomerang the new slogan evokes images of stereotypical western icons in the minds of some faculty and misrepresents UW’s research and educational goals.

“I care most about our university having a slogan that makes all people feel welcome here,” Porter said. “That’s what I care most about. I also care about us not embarrassing ourselves as an institution across the nation. However proud this state is of our cowboy tradition, it just does not translate outside the Rocky Mountain West.”

The objections are two-fold. Porter said the slogan both fails to be inclusive and fails to accurately represent UW to those outside Wyoming.

“For me, the clearest reason it’s unacceptable is the word ‘boy,’ excluding anyone who identifies as female,” she said.

The UW Committee on Women and People of Color also object to the new slogan. The organization wrote a letter to UW Director of Communications Chad Baldwin and University president Laurie Nichols, asking them to “shelve that slogan and find another one that represents the diversity of people and cultures that we have, and want to have, at UW.”

Faculty Senate Chair Donald O’Toole told The Boomerang he shared Porter’s concern about the baggage that so often comes with the term “cowboy” thanks to media depictions.

“It means someone who just kind of takes risks and can sometimes be a knucklehead,” he said. “Now, that’s not how cowboys are seen here, but the university really needs to balance the positive image that cowboys have here with the possibly negative image that cowboys may have elsewhere in the country, especially if they’re interested in bringing in a higher proportion of out-of-state students.”

The slogan is part of a $1.4 million investment to advertise to prospective students in and outside Wyoming. The university paid a Colorado marketing firm $500,000 to develop the campaign.

Back to news



Spell Check

Hubbard, IA
7/9/2018 11:40 PM

  This is insane. This professor should be gone. She doesnt even know history in the first place. There were a lot of people of color that worked as cowboys in the west. Maybe she should spend more time learning real history!!

Columbia, MO
7/12/2018 10:37 AM

  The slogan when using the word "Cowboys" is referring to what students become when the attend UW. Example, When you go to Mizzou you become a Tiger, Kentucky a Wildcat..... There is a difference between the regular definition of a cowboy and the "Cowboy" you become after attending Wyoming. I hope the parents and teachers of our youth have not failed them and the prospective students are able to interpret this as it was intended.

Paul Weinert
Falls City, NE
8/20/2018 02:43 PM

  My grandfather was a cowboy riding the Chisholm Trail 1870-1875 and then then a co-founder of a town north of Abilene, Kansas and one of its businessmen. I'm proud of that and having walked with him down to his business. I'm 88 and admire our neighbor to the west. They are indeed cowboys.


Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by QTInfo.com
Brought to you by Beyer