The Daily Aztec

Letter: Embrace the Aztec emblem

As President Sally Roush convenes a task force to examine the future of the Aztec moniker and mascot, now is the time for us to come together.

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Aztec mascot sits with fans in the stands.

Aztec mascot sits with fans in the stands.

Samantha Bonpensiero

Samantha Bonpensiero

Aztec mascot sits with fans in the stands.

by Zach Pellonari

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Fellow Aztecs,

Students, alumni, faculty and staff — these past couple of months triggered emotional times at San Diego State. The SDSU University Senate passage of the “Resolution to Eliminate the Mascot and Form a Task Force to Investigate the Aztec Identity” sparked a debate that the university has not witnessed in several years. It caused turmoil and rallied troops to both sides. Our reactions display how passionate this topic is to us — some responses were courteous, respectful and thoughtful, while others were rude, angry, and spiteful.

I experienced many of these emotions at one time or another since the resolution’s passage.

With SDSU President Sally Roush assembling a special task force to explore the future of the Aztec mascot and moniker, I implore all Aztecs to come together and work towards an inclusive goal that fosters mutual respect between both sides.

To the Task Force, I offer this  — embrace the Aztec. We should preserve our heritage, while using this initiative as an opportunity to educate ourselves and honor the Aztec legacy.

Suggestions include empower the Aztec moniker, ensure our mascot accurately portrays an Aztec Warrior, increase SDSU’s Aztec cultural/historical/language classes, establish faculty/staff positions with the task of promoting an inclusive community based on our Aztec heritage and create seminars and events that accurately portray Aztec history and culture.

With more than 300,000 alumni, 33,000 students and 3,000 faculty/staff, SDSU is a tremendous institution. In order to put the debate of the Aztec moniker and mascot behind us once and for all, let’s do our best to establish a future that we can agree on.

“Strive for perfection, achieve excellence”…that my Aztec sisters and brothers, is the best way to emulate the Aztec culture that we hold so dear.

Zach Pellonari is an SDSU alumnus from the graduating class of 2003.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Letter: Embrace the Aztec emblem”

  1. Lalo Alcaraz on January 24th, 2018 7:26 am

    “Suggestions include empower the Aztec moniker, ensure our mascot accurately portrays an Aztec Warrior, increase SDSU’s Aztec cultural/historical/language classes, establish faculty/staff positions with the task of promoting an inclusive community based on our Aztec heritage and create seminars and events that accurately portray Aztec history and culture.”

    Look, as a Chicano and SDSU Alum, (and Daily Aztec alum as well) I always liked that the school mascot is the Aztec. I felt it was just for me, a proud Mexican descended student. But I have heard the same things about “let’s make it accurate, cultural etc for over 25 years, blah blah blah”. No one expects SDSU will ever do anything like this. It’s a lot of hot air. I would be sad to see the name go, I have mixed emotions about it, even hypocritical emotions, if I can be honest here. I am uncomfortable with native American mascots for various sports teams, but I suppose sentimentality gets in the way of clear thinking. But maybe it’s time to consider an alternate path.

  2. John Santuccio Jr. on January 25th, 2018 6:44 am

    I’ve been a Aztec for Life since 1984. I’m urging President Roush and the task force to keep the Aztecs as our mascot.

  3. Marv Abrams (Class of 1969 and 1971) on January 25th, 2018 5:07 pm

    Our school Alma Mater, “Hail Montezuma,” includes the words, ” . . . in the spirit of the Aztec name.” In this way, the Aztec is an inclusive mascot, one who brings pride and identity to all of us who have graduated from San Diego State. The Aztec binds us together and promotes a fellowship that has nothing to do with human sacrifice or other vicious practices of the Aztecs of old. When I tell people that I am an Aztec, I am saluting my classmates, professors and staff members who so graciously impacted my life. Go Aztecs!

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