Changing the fight song lyrics

Photo courtesy of Himanshu Dedge, Student Publications

This semester, the recurring issue of whether or not to make a change to “The Ramblin’ Wreck” fight song has come up again.

In February we reported on the school chairs requesting that the word “cheer” be replaced with “join” in the line “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.”

Since then SGA held a referendum on the issue and undergraduate and graduate students were able to vote for or against the change during the March election cycle.

This vote came about after the administration suggested that students be involved in the decision. Although this vote will not make the final decision, it will be used to gauge how the student body feels about the lyric change.
The Technique Editorial Staff believes that although the change might make strides towards gender equality on campus, we do not believe it is the end-all-be-all in challenging sexism at Tech.

We believe changing the lyric is a slippery slope because not only are there other problematic lines in the fight song but also other traditional Tech songs.

If we change this one word, where do we draw the line on other modifications down the line? There are bigger issues at hand that need to be addressed and the changing of the song should fall near the bottom of the list.

We believe that even if this change is made, it may only be a form of performative activism.

Making this change may appease some students momentarily, but at the end of the day, more needs to be done. It is imperative that we don’t let this issue distract us from the bigger inequities between genders at Tech.

However, this push to change one word should not be dismissed as unimportant or as a non-issue.

This referendum has started a conversation among this generation of Tech students. The institution has changed quite a bit since the conception of The Ramblin’ Wreck” fight song and the world is now a much different place.

Tradition is not necessarily a good excuse for keeping lyrics that some individuals believe to be sexist. While our board does not feel strongly for or against the modification of the song, we recognize that changing this one word is one step towards feeling more included at Tech.

Likewise, we believe that not supporting this change and holding our institution accountable should not be seen as mutually exclusive.

Even if students feel indifferent towards whether or not the lyric is changed, we should all be able to recognize that gender discrimination is a real issue at Tech. Whether Tech changes the lyric and makes a big demonstration about it, or doesn’t make the change, we must hold our institution to a higher standard.

The fact that this issue continues to come up is significant in and of itself. There are many alumni that feel like it should not be changed because it didn’t bother them while they were here.

Some fight against the change as though every word of the fight song is integral to Tech’s traditions. With that being said, we believe that current students should have the most weight in making this decision.

Moreover, people will sing whatever they want and the changing of one word truly is a technicality. Even if it is changed in one place does not mean it will easily be changed everywhere.

The numerous naysayers will simply just not say the modified lyric. The same thing can also be said for those that are advocating for the lyric change. If the words are not ultimately swapped then they can still sing “join” instead of “cheer.” There is no one stopping individuals from saying whichever lyric they want.

All in all, The Technique Editorial Board believes that the issue of changing the Ramblin’ Wreck” fight song will not make or break the institution.

It’s less about what they do when everyone is looking and more about what is done behind closed doors.

There is a large gender inequality issue at Tech. It continue to prevail in both the social and academic spheres of the institution. Whether they change the lyrics or don’t will do very little for women at Tech as a whole, but there is a chance that it might detract from the issues at hand. If the change is ultimately made, the Board cautions against assuming that it solved sexism on campus.

The Consensus Opinion reflects the majority opinion of the Editorial Board of the Technique, but not necessarily the opinions of individual editors.