Mascot makeover madness

Other schools use the Gaucho mascot. Saddleback is considering changing the image. (Michael Dorame )

Michael Dorame

The Gaucho has been an icon of Saddleback College for more than forty years, but the current depiction of the mascot is up for debate.

In 2010, the Associated Student Government resolution to change the visual portrayal of the Gaucho mascot at Saddleback College was passed by “a majority voice vote to support the efforts of the students to change the image of the Gaucho to one that is more culturally sensitive,” in the Academic Senate and then approved by the consultation council.

The approved and passed resolution states:

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Diversity Student Council of Saddleback College requests the halt of Saddleback College merchandise and school publications with the image of the current Gaucho.”

However, items are still being sold at the college bookstore bearing the image.

The resolution further stated, “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Diversity Student Council of Saddleback College supports the reformation of the Gaucho.”

This “reformation” pertained to the remaking of the Gaucho image itself, not choosing a new mascot, which has not happened either.

“The Marketing committee will work on recommendations for a new college mascot image,” according to the April 27, 2010 Consultation Council minutes.

Yet the image still covers the campus, and the marketing committee has not chosen a new image.

A Canadian company drafted four images, and these images were shown at a marketing committee meeting, but a decision was not reached regarding which one to use.

The marketing committee agreed to give it over to the athletics department since they were to be effected by the changing of the mascot image the most.

“95 percent of its use is done here in athletics,” said assistant athletics director Jerry Hannula. “We should have a voice.”

“Our Mascot is not offensive,” Hannula said. “They’re spending a lot of time on a little issue.”

He said it would be a very large and costly endeavor to change the image on everything.

The current Gaucho image can be seen on buildings, scoreboards, and uniforms belonging the tennis, softball and basketball teams.

Hannula said these changes would be costly, and that the athletics department just didn’t have the money.

Hannula said no one has clarified who was offended and specifically why. He also was unclear on what would be considered acceptable and said he didn’t have enough information to make a discussion.

“They don’t really say what’s acceptable,” Hannula said.

He said athletics is the most diverse out of any division on campus, and he would be open to a meeting with ASG concerning the matter.

ASG president Joseph Hassine said, “ASG and the DSC really need to formulate a very concrete plan.”

A possible part of that plan would include a student contest to draft a new image.

Regarding money concerns, Hassine said, “I definitely think, that if possible, it shouldn’t all come from athletics.”

In a list of top things Hassine plans on doing this year, he included “complete the mascot project or make tremendous efforts to do so.”

Hassine also said he would be assigning DSC officers to focus on the matter.

With all the different views and concerns, expressed by both students and staff the mascot image issue at Saddleback is far from being over.

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