The Daily Aztec

Letter: Recent decision to make Aztec identity task force anonymous is unwarranted

How can the Aztec community embrace the Aztec when we do not know who the individuals that are influencing the Aztec moniker/mascot's fate are?

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“The single most important ingredient in the recipe for success is transparency because transparency builds trust,” said Denise Morris, President & CEO of Campbell Soup Company

If only San Diego State President Sally Roush felt the same way.

Roush has decided that the 17-member task force assembled to “explore the future of the Aztec mascot and moniker” will remain anonymous.

Well, that’s it. Game over. Nothing to see here. With one single decision, Roush doomed the outcome of the task force before it even began.

To be clear, I unequivocally want to keep the Aztec moniker/mascot. Perhaps Roush’s decision helps in that regard, and then again, maybe it does not. This is irrelevant. Regardless of one’s opinion towards the Aztec moniker/mascot, we should all be outraged with her decision.

While assembled, the ghost task force, which represents the interests of more than 330,000 Aztecs, will work in anonymity, cloaked in secrecy — absolved of any transparency or accountability.

Initially, Roush understood the importance of transparency, setting Feb. 2 as the date members would be announced. She continued by stating, “This task force will provide an opportunity for dialogue to continue among stakeholders in the SDSU community and will provide information on how to represent university traditions, build communal spirit and honor specific facets of our campus culture.”

What happened to the continued dialogue? What about the community approach?

That appears to no longer matter. Instead, Roush is asking more than 330,000 Aztecs to trust 17 anonymous individuals, five of whom she selected, with a recommendation that could affect us for years to come.

I ask, when has a lack of transparency been beneficial for shared governance?

SDSU Director of Media Relations Jill Esterbrooks said that Roush made the decision “in order for the task force to be effective and make findings without any undue attention or pressure.”

How can the task force be effective when there is no transparency? Regardless of what they recommend, it will lack public trust.

Additionally, by making the task force anonymous, Roush herself created “undue attention.” Lastly, if anyone on the task force is concerned about “pressure,” that person is free to remove themselves from a voluntary task force.

Roush, do the right thing and release the names of the individuals that are shaping the future of the Aztec moniker/mascot for years to come.

Zach Pellonari is a class of 2003 San Diego State alumnus.

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