The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Pioneer Pete’s replacement undecided

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Pioneer Pete’s replacement undecided

PHOTO COURTESY OF LIDIA MONTIEL

PHOTO COURTESY OF LIDIA MONTIEL

PHOTO COURTESY OF LIDIA MONTIEL

Por Earlene Mary Escobal, CONTRIBUTOR

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California State University, East Bay faculty and administrators have assembled a committee that will assist in the selection of a new university mascot.
CSUEB has not had an official mascot since October 2018. Pioneer Pete was removed after a group of students and faculty argued his character was culturally insensitive.
Since then, CSUEB President Leroy Morishita has put together a committee to decide who, or what, will be CSUEB’s new mascot.
The committee will create a process that will involve getting input from the community, according to Kabir Dhillon, ASI Vice President of University Affairs.
“A survey is expected to go out to the campus community (i.e. students, alumni, faculty) sometime in March,” Dhillon said. “As of right now, [the process of replacing the mascot] is to begin engaging the campus community to get their input on a new mascot, and then to submit a recommendation to the President by April 29.”
The committee that Morishita put together is co-chaired by Dr. Suzanne Espinoza, the Vice President for Student Affairs, and Kimberly Baker-Flowers, the University Diversity Officer.
The committee consists of students, faculty and staff members, including Dhillon. Other faculty members selected by Morishita include Yi He of the Department of Marketing, Carlos Salomon of the Ethnic Studies Department and David Larson of the Department of Anthropology, Geography & Environmental Studies.
This committee will aim to find a new symbol to replace Pioneer Pete, both by researching school history and by gathering community opinions on the mascot.
“The President is convening a committee to recommend to him how we should replace Pioneer Pete, our former institution’s mascot,” Michael Lee, Chair of Academic Senate, said. “Options will include both a new mascot and having no mascot at all, potentially.”
The committee is establishing a website where they will be sharing the history of the campus mascot and where they will “gather input from the campus community via a campus survey and comments gathered through the website as well as town hall meetings,” according to Dr. Suzanne Espinoza, Vice President of Student Affairs.
The committee will then evaluate the feedback and make recommendations to the president by the end of April.
The Students for Quality Education, or SQE, have drafted a proposal with Salomon which was sent to the Academic Senate. The Senate then voted to remove Pioneer Pete as the CSUEB mascot.
“I have no opinion on a new mascot but feel the old one needs to go,” Salomon said. “I don’t think Pete represents who we are as a campus. The connection between gold prospecting and genocide in California is well documented. A campus like ours that promotes social justice should not put forth an image that is hurtful to any one group.”

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