Long Island University has announced that they are getting rid of their 84-year-old mascot, the “Blackbird,” after some members of the community called it “racist.”
According to a report from the New York Post, alumni of Long Island University are fighting back against a recent decision to abandon their 84-year-old “Blackbird” nickname. The decision was made based on two factors. First, Long Island University is merging its Brooklyn and Post campuses, creating one athletic program. Second, some members of the community have called the “Blackbirds” mascot “racist.”
Long Island University athletic director Debbie DeJong said that the opportunity to choose a new nickname serves a chance to unite the two campuses. “As Blackbirds and Pioneers, our past and present student-athletes have built a strong foundation of excellence which our alumni are rightly proud of,” DeJong said. “Now, as we unite our two campuses into a strengthened Division I program, a new mascot will unify our national brand as we enter a new era of excellence.”
Despite the unifying sentiment, university president Kimberly Cline said that members of the community had told her that the mascot was racist.
Former university athletic director Jerry Donner told the New York Post that the alumni community has a strong emotional tie to the “Blackbird” mascot.
“We’re in support of the president’s initiative in terms of combining the programs and doing different things between the universities and merging them in a concept she called ‘One LIU,’ ” Donner said. “But with respect to the Blackbird, it’s iconic. It’s unique. It’s the only mascot in the country like it. Most of the alums I’ve been in contact with are very passionate about the Blackbird. It’s special.”