The “okay” hand signal has recently become popularized as a white power symbol. Due to its similarity, with CCU’s “Chants Up” sign, the school spirit signifier is coming into question.
According to CNN, this sign is used to represent white power as the shape resembles a “W” and a “P.”
“I think it is kind of a weird gray area, because as a person who is at Coastal, I understand the difference between the two signs but [may not be the case] for somebody who is visiting from another school who doesn’t know,” Coastal Carolina University student Erin Malone, a hospitality and marketing major said.
Nicky Papa, an information-systems major, disagrees.
“I don’t think we should change it. [The Chants Up sign] was a thing first — it’s traditional for the school. [This is] pretty controversial, there’s that argument of what’s offensive and what’s not,” Papa said.
Coastal Carolina’s Athletic Director Matt Hogue commented on the issue.
“The ‘Chants Up’ symbol was initially created by CCU students to exhibit school spirit on our student-athlete teams. Seven years ago, students chose to expand the use of the symbol outside of athletics. The sign is distinctive, serving as a visual representation of the Chanticleer, formed with the pointer finger and thumb pinched tightly together to represent the Chanticleer beak, and the other three fingers spanned out, representing the feather comb on the Chanticleer’s head,” Hogue said.
“Coastal Carolina University is committed to respecting all members of our campus community and upholding a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The campus routinely engages in dialogues to educate and ensure this commitment is realized. There is no place in our society, including our campus, for any form of discrimination or hatred.”
The Coastal Carolina website expresses this information as well.
“‘Chants Up’ has become a beloved CCU tradition and is often displayed at Chanticleer sports events, at the end of the alma mater during commencement ceremonies, and as a representation of Teal Nation and Chanticleer enthusiasm.”
Although the “okay” hand sign has recently been assigned a meaning of discrimination, the Chants up sign was created for the opposite purpose. The Chants up symbolizes the unity of Coastal Carolina students to celebrate student’s unique differences together on one campus.