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Faculty union condemns Aztec mascot

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Faculty union condemns Aztec mascot

San Diego State's Aztec Warrior mascot – now to be called a

San Diego State's Aztec Warrior mascot – now to be called a "spirit leader" – at a Mountain West tournament game in Las Vegas in March.

Kelly Smiley

San Diego State's Aztec Warrior mascot – now to be called a "spirit leader" – at a Mountain West tournament game in Las Vegas in March.

Kelly Smiley

Kelly Smiley

San Diego State's Aztec Warrior mascot – now to be called a "spirit leader" – at a Mountain West tournament game in Las Vegas in March.

by Will Fritz, News Editor

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The union representing most California State University faculty voted last week to condemn San Diego State’s mascot, as well as those of two other CSU campuses.

In a vote at the California Faculty Association 87th annual assembly in Los Angeles on April 14 and 15, members denounced the Aztecs moniker, the mascot’s human representation and “the usage of spears or weapons that connote violent and barbaric representations of Indigenous cultures.”

The resolution states SDSU is “on Kumeyaay land and the Kumeyaay were not consulted to create a culturally appropriate mascot.”

The CFA also condemned two other CSU mascots — the CSU East Bay Pioneers and the CSU Long Beach 49ers — as being representative of “a genocidal history against Indigenous peoples in California,” though it says CSU Long Beach “has worked to address their problematic mascot ‘Prospector Pete’ with truth-telling, fostered healing, and collective unity with the local Indigenous peoples.”

CSU San Marcos and CSU Channel Islands were both referenced for having “proactively worked with the local Indigenous community on whose land they reside to establish a campus identity that is rooted in place” and having “worked with the Chumash to create a culturally appropriate mascot,” respectively.

Faculty Association Vice President Charles Toombs, who is a professor of Africana Studies at SDSU as well as the campus’ CFA chapter president, said the resolution was initiated by the organization’s Indigenous People’s caucus of the Council for Affirmative Action within the CFA before passing with support from the whole assembly.

Toombs declined to speculate on what effect the resolution may have on the mascot.

“There’s a lot of discussion going on from different people about the Aztec mascot and we’ll certainly see what the task force recommends when it completes its work,” he said.

Brandon Jones, who just finished his time as SDSU’s College Republicans president, said he thinks the mascot is a non-issue.

“The mascot debate started by students and faculty on campus years ago is nothing more than background noise at this point for the majority of the campus community,” he said.

The Native American Student Alliance, which in recent years has led the fight to retire the mascot, did not respond to a request for comment.

When reached for comment, SDSU spokesperson Cory Marshall said she would “point back to our timeline for the Aztec identity decision.”

The deadline for the special task force to provide information and recommendations is April 30. President Roush said she intends to make a final decision about the Aztec identity and mascot no later than May 31,” Marshall said.

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12 Responses to “Faculty union condemns Aztec mascot”

  1. John Rapillo on April 23rd, 2018 3:57 pm


  2. Matteo Ortiz on April 23rd, 2018 3:58 pm

    Being a Mexican-American in San Diego, I am very proud of SDSU for choosing the Aztecs to represent the school. I cannot think of one University in the US that has chosen the Aztecs as their representation. Many other family and friends I know also feel the same. When I see the logos of the past for SDSU I do not feel disrespected in any way. Rather than trying to do away with any trace of this University history, we should continue to use the representation as a great way to educate the San Diego community and build bridges between Chicano and other cultures. Especially given that we are a border city, there is a lot of good that can be done with the name & representation. Go Aztecs!

  3. betsy burgreen on April 23rd, 2018 5:38 pm

    Dear friends! We have fallen over the edge. This mascot represents BEAUTY, HONOR, RESPECT, LOYALTY AND… YES COMPETITION! The Warrior doesn’t throw a spear at the opponent. He announces his team with a conch shell! He meets and greets and shares the very best of the AZTEC culture – I spent time in Mexico after graduating to learn more about the AZTECS. I am so grateful to have gone to a school that has so honorably represented this ancient culture.

    If you choose this path – this will cost millions of dollars that could be spent on students, to rebrand – not to mention the millions of donation support and the loss of the goodwill of the hundreds and thousands of AZTEC ALUMNI! Don’t give in “special super secret task force”

    Don’t do it SDSU


  4. Victor H RIVAS Hernandez on April 23rd, 2018 8:51 pm

    As a member of the indegenouis people of the Americas, i am proud of SDSU use of the Aztec as their mascot ,instead of dividing the campus with nonsense they should insure that the students can walk to from classes safely or wprk on getting a football stadium fpr the Aztec football team and the expansion of the campus

  5. Mark Streiff on April 23rd, 2018 8:54 pm

    Sweet but why is Brandon Jones’ opinion asked for every article even when it doesn’t matter (like here)? And they say there’s a liberal bias on this campus.

  6. Lupe Gomez on April 23rd, 2018 9:11 pm

    Go Aztecs!

  7. Joe on April 23rd, 2018 10:05 pm

    Didn’t realize that the Kumeyaay were Aztecs.

  8. Joan Hart on April 24th, 2018 8:20 am

    Are these faculty teaching history? Let them live like the Kumaaya people were back then and see if progress of the area has harmed them. Please get your logical thinking caps on folks.
    Your ridiculous claims are embarrassing yoursrlves.

  9. AztecBruce on April 24th, 2018 10:17 am

    Isn’t the Viejas Tribe’s name on the side of the Arena where our mascot and basketball teams perform? Would their name be on the building if they had any issues with the Aztec name or mascot?

    Adam Day, an Alumn, is a high ranking administrator at Sycuan and on the Board of Trustees of the Cal State System. Has Sycuan complained?

    Let’s get real you bunch of panzy profs. It’s ok to be offended in life. Everybody gets offended sooner or later. The worst thing is to try to appease the offended especially when any change would offend more people.

  10. Peter on April 25th, 2018 9:07 am

    Left-wing trying to erase history and culture. Beware

  11. Bob Battenfield on April 25th, 2018 11:07 am

    As a 1961 grad, and a journalism major, I am proud to be an Aztec for Life. I see Monty as a warrior, a competitor, a winner, an inspiration. During my 5 years at SDSU I was a News Editor when the newspaper became the Daily Aztec. For 4 years I wrote a weekly “three-dot” column called The Scene and the Herd. In student government, I was elected Lower Division Rep and Upper Division Rep. I was President of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, and president of IFC as well my 5th year on campus. Active in the SDSU Alumni Association, I served as Alumni President in 1974 and 1975. I am also active in the SAE Alumni Chapter. What I am saying is that not only my college experience but my whole life (turning 80 this year) has been greatly influenced by my identity as an Aztec. Condemning Monty and eliminating the Aztec name is self-defeating. It would be a great loss in terms of public support of the university.

  12. Aline Soules on April 30th, 2018 1:35 pm

    While I understand the concern about “pioneer” and the meaning now assigned to it, I would like to clarify that the original intent of “pioneer” was to refer to the pioneers in space in the late 1950s/early 1960s when the campus was first formed. Go back to the yearbooks of the time and the space meaning is clear.

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