Saddleback College community will decide the Gaucho’s fate, Stern announces

Saddleback College woman’s tennis skirt featuring the ‘G.’ (Photo by Katarina De Almeida/Lariat)

Now is the perfect time for Saddleback to re-address this issue of retiring the Gaucho. After conversing with the students and faculty, it’s fair to say they all share the same opinion of retiring the Gaucho and the ‘G’.

President Elliot Stern will hold three work groups on the Gaucho mascot. For over a year, Stern has looked to redesign the Gaucho mascot as well as the ‘G’ symbol on all sports teams’ uniforms, but as of now the redesign plans are on hold.

“It is in light of these circumstances that I have decided to pause the work of the Mascot Redesign work group and ask the college to engage in discussion about whether the Gaucho should be replaced altogether, not just re-imagined in a less pejorative way,” Stern said in an email to the campus. 

He decided to pause the rework of the Gaucho design and asked the college to engage in a discussion about whether the Gaucho should be redesigned or replaced. A “Retire-the-Gaucho” petition received over 200 faculty signatures to remove the Gaucho as the campus mascot.

Since 2014, the mascot has been in question. The Gaucho is traditional to Argentine culture and therefore seen as offensive to some. The Gaucho has been a sports mascot for over three decades at Saddleback. In 2014, students approached Academic Senate President Dan Walsh to talk about the design of the Gaucho, which is an Argentinian cowboy riding a horse. 

“We thought it was going to be a done deal,” Walsh told the Lariat. “We were not going to have the logo anymore, but it started showing up again.” 

Stern and Walsh share the same view on the Gaucho and its removal. Currently the new $75 million football stadium does not feature a Gaucho mascot or  the logo “G” located anywhere.

It looks as if the Gaucho and the “G” will be removed from Saddleback  soon. However, Saddleback is not the only college that uses the Gaucho. Other institutions such as the University of California, Santa Barbara also use the Gaucho. 

“I do know that a lot of people make jokes that we should change our mascot to a raccoon,” UC Santa Barbara student Katelyn Wear said.

In 1934, UC Santa Barbara officially changed its mascot from the “Ole”  to “Gaucho.” After the 1927 film “The Gaucho,” was released, female students in particular felt compelled to lead a vote asking to change the mascot to the Gaucho. 

Saddleback isn’t the only place where we see changes coming. Big brands such as Aunt Jemima and Uncle Bens’ have been discontinued due to complaints on their use of racist icons. 

The Washington Redskins have changed their name to the “Washington Football Team” just weeks after these big changes.

The first of three Zoom sessions is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 4. 

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