Left-wing activists at the University of Wyoming are insisting that the school’s new slogan, “The world needs more cowboys,” is “racist” and needs to be dumped.
Critics, including liberal professors and Native American groups, are attacking the cowboy slogan as racist and too “masculine,” according to Fox News. The university’s mascot is a cowboy riding a bucking horse.
The campaign centered around the school’s mascot cost $500,000, and is part of a $1.4 million investment to advertise the university.
“Honestly, I thought it was a joke at first,” associate professor Ellen Currano recently told the Chronicle of Higher Education. “I thought it was a joke. And then I looked it up on the university web page and saw that no, this was, in fact, serious.”
Another critic, Darrell Hutchinson, who calls himself a “cultural specialist,” told Reuters that the mascot and slogan make people feel unwelcome.
“If you’re not a white person, and especially if you’re an Indian, it would make you feel out of place — it wouldn’t make you feel too good about yourself,” Hutchinson exclaimed.
Christine Boggs, the co-chair of the university’s Committee on Women and People of Color, insisted that her acolytes are “very upset” about the slogan.
“If we’re striving to be a diverse university, exposing our students to a broader scope of ideas, we have to invite them in a more positive, inclusive way,” Boggs insisted.
Also, a group of female scientists wrote a letter urging the university to dump the slogan saying that the school should “embrace a slogan that takes us into the 21st Century,”
The university, though, denies that the mascot is meant to represent a white man.
“In a vacuum, the term ‘cowboy’ appears gender- and perhaps race-specific, but in the context of the branding campaign it is connected to images and words that show our cowboys are diverse, of every sex and background,” university spokesman Chad Baldwin said.
“A cowboy is not what you are, but who you are,” Baldwin added.
Jim Magagna, executive vice president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, criticized the attacks saying that the campaign to eliminate the school’s mascot and slogan unfairly maligns the “time-honored way of life and work” that the cowboy mascot represents.
“We are proud of the true image of the real cowboy or cowgirl, often of very diverse race or ethnicity, riding the range on a well-groomed horse while sporting a cowboy hat, chaps, spurs, and a rope,” Magagna said.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.