Our View: Student participation crucial for success in new mascot decision

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This upcoming rebranding of Dixie State University’s identity should be the last. 

After students, faculty, staff and alumni members have expressed their negative view and indifference toward the current mascot, the Red Storm, an identity committee has been formed to create a new identity they hope everyone can rally behind.

A survey will be open to the public within the next month. It will include six to seven potential mascot options for participants to give their input on. Although the results of survey won’t decide the final mascot, it will play a large part in the decision, said Jordon Sharp, director of student involvement and leadership. 

The survey will narrow the potential mascot choices down to three. The final decision will be made by administrators, notable alumni, and members of the identity committee who will choose from the three finalists. Even if there is an overwhelming number of student votes for a certain mascot, the final decision could be something different.   

As students, faculty members and alumni, we should be active in the process of deciding what mascot will eventually represent us. We should participate in the survey, voice our opinion in discussions, and let our elected student leaders and members of the identity committee know what we expect in a mascot. Mascots should represent school pride and should be the byproduct of everyone’s voice.  

A poll was conducted by DSU’s Student Association last year at this time, asking students to assess student opinion on the Red Storm. The feedback was overwhelmingly negative, with 70 percent of the respondents reported having either a negative or confused view of DSU’s identity. 

Unless students are involved in the process of choosing the new mascot this time, we are prone to repeat history and have another mascot the majority of students can’t identify with. 

But while everyone should be represented in the new mascot, there is no way it can please everyone.

When the decision is made, we should pick a mascot and stick with it. No one goes to the University of Oregon to be a Duck or the University of California, Santa Cruz to be a Banana Slug. But these mascots have represented these universities for generations. Whatever is chosen to be the mascot for DSU should likewise be expected to be the same for as long as DSU is in existence. 

“Rebels” is out of the question. With it’s negative historical connotations associated with the name “Dixie,” “Rebels” is a mascot that people need to let go. The new mascot should unify alumni and students so nothing at DSU has the lingering name of “Rebels” attached to it. 

Students, faculty members, athletes, alumni, community members and fans should all rally behind the new mascot, but it should mainly be for the students. Alumni and community members should not have a bigger say in what the mascot becomes than the students have. We are the ones who are here everyday, paying tuition and attending events.  

DSU has a unique opportunity right now to include students in this decision to create a new mascot, and as students, we have the opportunity to leave our legacy for future generations of DSU students. Let your voice be heard.