The University of Florida has banned ‘gator bite’ excitement at sporting events

The University of Florida has banned 'gator bite' excitement at sporting events
Niki J. Layton
Written by Niki J. Layton

President of the University Kent Fuchs made the announcement Thursday As part of a list of steps the university is taking to combat racism.

“While I am not aware of the racism associated with our‘ gator bite ’merriment at UF sporting events, there are terrible historical racist images associated with this phrase,” Fuchs said. “Accordingly, University Athletics and the Gator Band stop using cheer.”

The university’s sports teams are nicknamed the Gators. And when the university band played a familiar song and the fans shouted “Gator bite!”

Ferris State University’s Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia Newspaper articles and images have been discovered since the late 1800s when African American babies were used as alligator bait.

“The 2020-21 academic year focuses on black experience, racism and inequality,” said Fuchs. He said faculty “reevaluate and revise appropriate aspects of our curriculum.”

Current and new students, faculty, and staff need to be trained on racism, inclusion and prejudice.

“This is the last time for the UF to commit and engage in this challenging, uncomfortable, transformational work,” Fuchs said in his statement. “We know that we cannot undo the lifetimes of injustice and racism, but we believe in education, truth, reconciliation and justice, and strive to eradicate racism, equality and inequality.”

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About the author

Niki J. Layton

Niki J. Layton

Niki J. Layton is a journalist who writes on politics, environment and human rights in South Asia.

For 15 years, she has written for several publications and websites including TIME, Harper's, Al Jazeera, The Caravan, The Hindu,, Outlook, The Wire, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Economic Times, Tehelka, and news channel CNN-IBN. She is an India correspondent for The Straits Times, Singapore.

Some of the awards she has received are the Red Cross Award for reporting on conflict, Mumbai press award for environmental reporting, and ILO award for writing on labour. Niki has a Masters in political journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, New York

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