San Diego State University’s Senate voted overwhelmingly to kill the school’s popular Aztec mascot on the grounds that it is culturally insensitive.
San Diego State University Senate members voted 52-15 on Tuesday to retire the school’s popular Aztec Warrior mascot over concerns that it is culturally insensitive.
“The Education Code of California states that singling out the Native Americans through the use of mascots, team names or nicknames creates a barrier to equality,” San Diego State management professor Beth Chung said. “The social science literature talks about the harmful effects of this kind of stereotyping,” Chung said.
A number of protesters from the Native American Student Alliance were in attendance for the vote on the resolution. “Today we came with other members in solidarity to show the University Senate that we’re aware of this issue and that our voices will not continue to be silenced,” said American Indian studies junior Lane Yazzie, “and to show them that they’re voting on our behalf and they’re representing students and to hold them accountable.”
The resolution sought to “retire all human representations of the Aztec Warrior and accompanying symbols” and “establish a task force to explore issues associated with the use of the Aztec moniker and an education component offered through Associated Students and Division of Student Affairs.”
The resolution will now be passed on to the university president who has the final say on the matter.
“Any final decision regarding the resolution will be made by the president of San Diego State University,” a statement from the administration read. “SDSU is proud of its long-standing commitment to the shared governance process, of which the University Senate is a part. There can be no question that all viewpoints regarding SDSU’s Aztec identity have a right to be respectfully heard and carefully considered. This resolution provides an opportunity for dialogue to continue among all stakeholders in the SDSU community – including faculty, students, staff, and alumni.”
Despite the push against the popular mascot, some members of the San Diego State University community don’t agree with the resolution.
“The Aztec is a symbol of strength, bravery, intelligence, and cultural pride. Whoever thinks an Aztec symbol (as the spirit of SDSU) is offensive should rightly be offended at their own ignorance. Aztecs should not wither into that cold and timid grave called social justice,” one commenter wrote on the San Diego State University website.
“I’m also disappointed with the decision by the University Senate. People love the Aztec Warrior because he’s exactly that… a warrior. He represents something fierce, something strong and courageous. Something we should all aspire to, and something we’d all be proud to be considered. Why is that bad or offensive?” another user wrote.