Cal State Long Beach is asking the public to help select a new mascot for the university, a move that comes months after the school decided to send its former mascot — Prospector Pete — packing after years of outcry that he was offensive to indigenous people.
A university committee has narrowed the options to six: Stingrays, Sharks, Pelicans, Giraffes, Kraken (a mythical sea monster) or Go Beach (essentially a vote for no mascot).
Anyone other than students, who will have their own official voting period next month, can cast a ballot online for their favorite. The deadline for the community vote is Wednesday.
The results will be announced May 9 before they are recommended to President Jane Close Conoley, who will have final say over the mascot.
Prospector Pete evolved from the creation of the campus in 1949 and founding President Pete Peterson’s reference to having “struck the gold of education” by establishing the college. However, students have seen it for years largely as a commemoration of prospectors and their participation in the violence inflicted on Native Americans and others during the state’s Gold Rush.
Last year, university leadership decided to retire the Prospector Pete mascot and move its bronze statue, formerly named the Forty-Niner Man, to a less prominent place on campus.