Faculty, students reign victory as Academic Senate aims to completely eliminate image of ex-mascot
The gaucho (below), which is believed to be the last large image of the former mascot on campus, was removed from the left portion of the sidewall shown above. (Austin Weatherman)
Saddleback College said goodbye to its long time gaucho caricature in the Student Services Building after being painted over Jan. 4, upon the request from the Academic Senate Equity and Diversity committee. A new committee has been arranged by Saddleback President Gregory Anderson, headed by Interim Director of Marketing and Communications Julie Lanthier Bandy, to redesign the mascot logo and is set to meet early February.
Students have been protesting the caricature for 10 years now, saying that it misrepresents the Latino culture. The drawing depicts a mustached-hispanic cowboy riding a horse, meant to resemble an Argentine gaucho. The Associated Student Government and Consultation Council created the first resolution on Nov. 5, 2014, but nothing happened.
Co-chair Carmenmara Hernandez Bravo said that the committee created a new resolution to the removal of the image three years ago, but nothing had got done.
“The students have been pushing for the removal for 10 years now and we voted three years ago to remove the image but it was still here.” she said. “It’s a terrible stereotype and has no room here at Saddleback.”
Hernandez Bravo has been with Saddleback College for 25 years, leading the Equity and Diversity committee for 20 of those years. She is very intense about the removal of the image saying that if she sees another gaucho improperly representing the Latino community, she is going to continue her pursuit to remove the negative imagery.
The committee emailed President Anderson Dec. 16 saying:
“Though the Associated Student Government and the Academic Senate have both passed numerous resolutions for many years calling for the gaucho image to be removed from the entire college, it still appears around the campus (e.g. in the Student Services Building) and even in the College Communications and Graphics’ manual (on page 8).”
“For a number of years, there was pressure to remove the graphic year after year, and nothing had gotten done,” President Anderson said. “I decided to do something and that’s why it’s painted over now.”
Anderson had first noticed the caricature upon his arrival at Saddleback in October, describing the image as a “relic.” He said he had a personal reaction to the “guacho,” but his focus is more on how the school responds to the imagery.
“My reaction isn’t nearly as important as the work that had gone into discussing the impact of that caricature and understanding as a college that this isn’t the way this college wishes to present itself to students and the community,” Anderson said.
Painting over the giant logo in the Student Services Building cost little to zero according to Anderson. They budgeted the job to fit into regular working hours, having staff use excess paint and new brushes to get the job done while faculty and students were on winter break.
Co-chair Ray Zimmerman was very excited to see the quick action by Anderson.
“President Anderson amazingly was able to get something done practically overnight,” Zimmerman said. “I guess we just needed the correct leadership.”