June 13, 2021

Capital alum shares thoughts on mascot nominees

Amid the drama surrounding the final mascot choices, one alum shares his thoughts, and the mascot committee speaks out.

Last Monday, Capital announced the final four mascot choices for the community to vote on: Capital United, Capital Wolves, Capital Hawks, and Capital Comets. While these choices were all student-submitted, many have shared their frustration, saying that they had never heard of these mascots before the final voting opened.

One of the most vocal voices on social media has been the Capital Capybaras. The Chimes covered them and other notable mascot nominees in a previous Chimes article here.

Aaron Butts, alum and former Capital employee, manages the Capybaras account.  For him, it was disappointing not being in the final four, as he was told that the Capybaras was the most submitted idea when Capital was taking student submissions.

“In my opinion, what I think most people are upset with is that the options presented to us were bland and unoriginal in the end. We felt that we ordered a filet mignon and instead got a hamburger,” said Butts.

The same day the final four were announced, #justiceforthecapybaras was created and began circulating the Twitter feeds of the Capital community. There is also a petition with over 650 signatures, asking the University to give the Capybaras a chance.

This petition started on June 1, reaching 550 signatures in less than 48 hours. At the time of writing, the University has not responded to the petition.

To learn about the mascot judging process, the Chimes reached out to Jean-Paul Spagnolo and Jennifer Patterson, co-chairs of the mascot committee.

Before the Choose Your Champion campaign started, the mascot committee created a rubric to judge the nominations on. Criteria included intuitiveness, marketability, competitive spirit, and endurance.

On June 3, Spagnolo and Patterson stated in an email, “Capybaras was evaluated and considered, however, in the end, it did not rise to the top.”

Unlike some other alumni who believe that Cappy the Crusader should’ve been left alone, Butts believes that a mascot change was needed.

“It’s not ‘wokeness’ gone amok but rather a recognition of what the Crusaders truly were: militant colonialist zealots…,” Butts said. “Crusaders were religious extremists bent on imposing their own beliefs on others and that simply does not align with the values of the university.”

Even though Butts has been critical of Capital’s handling of the mascot situation, he emphasizes that it comes from a place of love.

“I know for a fact that a lot of people worked incredibly hard in this process. What we have here is a family disagreement,” Butts said. “They don’t always get it right, and things very often slip through the cracks, but I do think that they are working hard to make things better.”

Voting concludes on June 11. A link to the form can be found here.

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