A.S. researches the Aztec Warrior mascot

Aztec Warrior mascot at a sports event.

Megan Wood

Aztec Warrior mascot at a sports event.

by David Hernandez, News Editor

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After nearly a month of researching San Diego State’s Aztec Warrior mascot, the Associated Students’ University Affairs Board approved a final report entailing the current research, the history of the mascot and a final recommendation to the University Council to keep the mascot.

Four board members voted in favor of the resolution while a majority of 8 voted against it at the Nov. 6 meeting. There was one abstention.

The A.S. University Council, made up of student-elected representatives from various college councils, will read the resolution for a third time and vote on Nov. 19.

After the ASUC voted to send the resolution to the University Affairs Board, the board divided into four groups to research and answer questions the University Council had after the first reading of the resolution. The questions were categorized into four aspects relating to the SDSU mascot: cultural and historical references, campus culture, marketing and finances, branding and off-campus perspectives.

A report was created from the research and the board approved the document at the Thursday meeting. Information in the report was gathered through online research and interviews with campus stakeholders.

Hassan Abdinur, vice chair of the University Affairs Board, supported the resolution. He said the board should consider the students that are affected by the use of the Aztec Warrior and not the financial aspect of changing the mascot. Finances aside, he said he did not see a reason the university should keep the mascot.

The board, however, mainly discussed the financial aspect of changing the mascot.

Committee member Drew Morris said alumni he spoke to said they would not feel a connection to the university and that those who donate would stop making contributions.

Abdinur said he believes people don’t feel a connection solely with the mascot, but rather with SDSU as a whole.

Committee member Zack Albrecht said in 2005 the NCAA approved the mascot and therefore it meets the guidelines for an appropriate school mascot.

Albrecht and committee member Katie Wilkes said the university would have to use money to rebrand and said it is unclear where the funds would come from.

The University Affairs Board will send its report to college council representatives, presidents and the resolution’s authors. It will also be posted on SDSU’s website, A.S. Vice President of University Affairs Corey Polant said

The report is meant to be a recommendation and supplemental documentation to assist the University Council representatives in voting, Polant said. He expects the college councils to pass it on to their students.

“We’re trying to give as much information and a wide variety of different types of information, because students feel that this resolution affects different parts of the campus,” Polant said.

The college councils have discussed the resolution at their meetings, and Queer People of Color Collective members attended several college council and club meetings in October to give a presentation on their stance regarding the Aztec Warrior.

QPOCC also presented to the University Affairs Board on Oct. 16, speaking about Aztec culture and expressing that the mascot is racist.

Thomas Negron Jr., a QPOCC member, said the “fear the spear” slogan, as well as the spear itself used by the mascot violate the 2003 resolution aimed to make the mascot more sensitive to Aztec culture. He also said use of photos of the old Aztec mascot sporting a red face was a violation.

Negron said although many students believe the Aztecs are extinct, there are more than 1 million Nahuatl speakers in the world.

“The culture is being reduced to a caricature,” Diana Trinidad, a Queer People of Color Collective member who identifies as a mestiza, said. The term refers to someone of both European and Native American descent.

Polant said the university will not conduct a poll on the mascot as it did in 2003, but all students will be represented by the representatives of each college, who will vote on their behalf.

QPOCC said a new mascot should be up to the student body to decide. In its resolution, the student organization offers guidelines based on the 2003 resolution to pick a new mascot.

Negron realizes most students don’t support the resolution, but he said data, such as polling on the topic, is skewed because most students aren’t educated about the negative aspects of the mascot.

“There’s no way to educate 30,000 students,” he added. “The only effective thing to do is to get rid of the mascot.”

The University Council will hold a special meeting at 3:30 on Wednesday, Nov. 12 at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union’s Council Chambers to discuss the resolution.

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