‘monty’ Mascot Facelift Delayed

by publicationarchive

Although the campus mascot received national attention last year,the university’s pace in changing its representation has been slow.

Last May, University President Stephen Weber announced “Monty”Montezuma would no longer serve as the San Diego State mascot after agroup of students ignited debate over whether the figure wasdisrespectful to Native Americans.

Instead, the role of Montezuma has been upgraded to an ambassador,a representation Weber hopes will be a more dignified portrayal ofthe Aztec ruler. In addition, all references to the mascot’s nicknameand logos bearing a red-faced warrior will be ousted from theuniversity.

Right now, most campus officials are stuck waiting — mostly forthe approval of a new logo that would affect campus auxiliaries suchas Aztec Shops and athletics — before they can make any significantchanges.

New logos, created by Osaki Design, Inc., are now being reviewedby a committee, which has no set deadline to recommend a design forWeber’s approval.

The group is comprised of athletics officials, professors, alumniand student athletes. However, there are no Native American studentsin the group.

Steven Schnall, assistant athletics director for marketing whoco-chairs the group, said the perspective of Native Americans isfilled by committee member Maria Butler, a lecturer in the Departmentof Chicana and Chicano Studies who studies Aztec culture.

Also, later in the year the group will take the designs to NativeAmerican students and scholars for their input, he said.

Wayne “Snow Eagle” Vanek, co-founder of the Native AmericanStudent Activists Organization on campus, said in the event the newlogos portray a human mascot or sacred Native American regalia, thestudent group will try to obtain an injunction that would preventSDSU from marketing the new image until the issue is settled incourt.

Vanek said two Los Angeles-based law firms have said they willrepresent the group if members can raise the money needed to fightthe university in court.

“It all depends on the way you market a culture,” Vanek said. “Itis one thing to have dignity or respect for a culture; it’s anotherthing to embarrass it.”

NASAO is a splinter group of The Native American Student Alliance,which first brought up the issue last year.

SDSU Bookstore Director Sylvia Mangubat said the university isselling leftover merchandise in the store, but is no longer orderingitems bearing the old logo.

She said it is difficult to determine if there has been a declinein revenue from the loss of the old logo because merchandise in thestore is constantly changing.

“We’re just hoping the university stays on target,” she said. “Ifso, we’ll be ready for fall.”

One of the biggest tasks ahead for the university is the removalof the Montezuma logo that occupies center court on the basketballfloor in Cox Arena, which was painted in 1997.

Schnall said the logo will not be removed until a new one ischosen. However, this means the design will be on the arena floorwhen basketball games are broadcast this season.

The committee will most likely recommend a new logo before May sothat next year’s athletic uniforms can be ordered with the newdesign, he said.

Donna Tusack, chief administrative officer for Aztec Shops, saidall exterior awnings that advertise the four Monty’s Markets havebeen removed and the shops are being called “convenience stores” fornow.

However, there are a few remaining signs throughout campus thatpublicize “Monty’s Markets,” such as one near West Commons, butTusack said she hopes all signs will be eliminated by the end of theschool year.

Aztec Shops, which operates all campus food services, will waituntil the new logo is approved before officially changing the name ofthe stores, she said.

“We’re hoping that we can play off of something on the new logo –like a play on words,” she said.

The total cost of removing the signs is estimated at $50,000.

University Spokesman Jack Beresford said a student has been chosento represent the new Ambassador Montezuma and an announcement of his