In the fall of 2018, a controversy was sparked when part of the university community began to advocate for a mascot change.
In light of a more modern and inclusive worldview, Cappy the Crusader can be seen as an offensive symbol for a rather violent and bloody period of time.
The Crusades were a long series of holy wars ranging from 1095 C.E. to around 1492 C.E. About eight campaigns were orchestrated by the Catholic Church for multiple reasons, the most prominent being that they wanted to take back Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim control.
In an attempt to gather as many perspectives on this topic, President Paul assembled a “Mascot Study Group” to analyze different viewpoints and construct recommendations on an outcome.
Note that the Mascot Study Group is not directly advocating for or against changing the mascot. They’re instead tasked with gathering all opinions and then making an informed strategic plan based on it.
Changing the mascot can understandably lead to monumental outcomes that can leave ripple effects for years to come.
Altering the university’s entire brand may be an expensive strategy, or it could alienate alumni.
When the Chimes did an investigation into the athletics department’s funding last fall, it was revealed that about 41 percent of the money came from outside sources, such as alumni.
This point is brought up because usually alumni, take for example a former athlete, are motivated to donate based on a nostalgia factor. It can be argued that some of them may feel apprehensive about changing what they feel is an iconic symbol for the school. This could in turn affect whether or not they want to give back to the school.
It’s clear that decisions of this regard must be carefully made and thought about thoroughly. That’s part of the reason why the study group was put together.
According to Sally Creasap, co-chair of the study group, they have submitted a recommendation to Paul at the end of the Fall 2019 semester.
“There are several meetings scheduled during the week of Feb. 17 that will likely move the process forward,” Creasap said.