Ole Miss Students To Vote On Mascot
By SCOTT RAY
The Daily Mississippian
Ole Miss students could have the chance to decide if they want a new on-field mascot as the result of a bill passed by the Associated Student Body Wednesday.
Save Colonel Reb Foundation spokesperson Howie Morgan said he was disappointed with the legislation.
By specifying that students can choose a new on-field mascot, it removes the possibility of reintroducing former mascot Colonel Rebel. Morgan said forcing students to choose between a new mascot or no mascot at all indicated that the ASB was not truly giving the students their voice.
“Some of the members of the ASB have allowed themselves to be co-opted by the administration,” Morgan said.
The bill came from a petition with 1,707 student signatures in favor of the university adopting an official on field mascot.
Students will vote either to support or oppose a student-led effort to develop and propose a new mascot to represent the Ole Miss Rebels, and according to the bill, the university will not revisit the 2003 decision to remove Colonel Reb.
Senator Graham Smith, one of five to oppose the bill, said he thought that giving students no chance to vote in favor of Colonel Reb disenfranchised the student body.
“By not allowing the former mascot to be an option in the process, that’s taking the student voice out ahead of time,” Smith said.
After less than half an hour of discussion, the bill passed.
Morgan said he was glad the bill allowed students to have a voice if they are favor of having no mascot at all.
“The ASB is saying, ‘let’s let the students decide something,’” ASB Vice-President Richard McKay said. “This bill is going to let students say either we want everything to stay the same, no on-field mascot, leave it the way it is, or we can have a brand new mascot, something to represent us on the field. It’s whatever the students feel.”
Secondary education major Shane Baltz said he would be fine with a new mascot.
“I think it’s going to be different, but I just think it’d be better for the university overall if we had a new mascot,” Baltz said. “I’m kind of sick of hearing about it. I’d rather just get a new mascot and get on with it.”
Stephen Powell, a chemistry major, said he would rather not have a mascot if Colonel Reb was not an option.
“I think we’re a school that has tried to change things,” Powell said. “I think this shows that even though we have bad things in our past, we’re still moving toward the future and there’s no reason to take Colonel Reb away because of whatever people think it used to represent. It doesn’t represent that anymore.”
It is unclear whether the question will appear on ballot of the upcoming ASB election.
© 2010 Calhoun County Journal