University moves ahead with selecting Aztec mascot and moniker task force


Kelly Smiley

The Aztec Warrior mascot – now to be called a “spirit leader” – at a football game in fall 2017.

by Diana Guevarra, Staff Writer

Members of a special task force designed to investigate the future of the Aztec mascot and moniker will be announced this week.

In November, The University Senate approved a non-binding resolution to retire the Aztec Warrior mascot — though not the Aztec name — and call for a task force to explore and make recommendations regarding the appropriateness of the current Aztec identity.

The 17-member task force will be composed of SDSU students, staff, faculty and alumni representatives along with two at-large community members appointed by Roush. Some additional members will be determined by the president to establish a balanced task force with diverse perspectives.

Roush is also considering input and recommendations from individuals or groups from larger San Diego community who wish to comment.

According to the SDSU press release, the task force will include:

  • Four SDSU student representatives selected from seven students nominated by the Associated Students Board of Directors plus an additional student appointed by Roush.
  • Four individuals selected from seven faculty and staff nominated by the University Senate plus an additional faculty or staff member appointed by Roush.
  • Four SDSU alumni selected from seven nominated by the SDSU Alumni Board of Advisors plus an additional alumni by appointed by Roush.
  • Two at-large San Diego community members appointed by Roush.

SDSU spokesperson Jill Esterbrooks said that those nominated had the ability to self-nominate or nominate a willing colleague. Final balloting for the pool of nominees took place online during the week of Jan. 22.

The task force will be announced on Feb. 2, and members will be expected to begin work immediately after, Esterbrooks said.

Associated Students President Chimezie Ebiriekwe potential nominees were narrowed down based on a desire to create a “diverse pool student representatives” to serve on the task force. Ebiriekwe met with each nominee in order to gauge their understanding of the mascot topic, he said.

The nomination processed request each person to provide a brief statement interest. Staff and faculty were to provide qualifications in addition to their statement.

“The task force plays an important role because the decision isn’t solely placed on President Roush,” Ebiriekwe said. “There’s a diverse group of individuals ranging from faculty, alumni, students and every single facet of SDSU that looks into the mascot identity is involved.”

A short survey will be sent out early February to SDSU alumni to gauge their input on the issue.

“There are thousands of alumni locally and around the world who care passionately about the university’s past and its future,” Dan Montoya, associate vice president of SDSU Alumni said in the press release. “Those voices are an important part of the conversation about honoring and celebrating our shared experiences as members of the SDSU community.”  

There are no indications on how the task force will conduct investigation, but it’s assumed they will also examine the usage of symbols and “weapons that connote barbaric representations of the Aztec culture.”

The task force will be given no later than April 30 to present its information and recommendation to the university president. Roush — who is serving as interim president and is expected to leave office this summer — intends to make an announcement on the mascot by the end of May.