The status on Saddleback’s mascot: The Gaucho


Riverside Community College, top left, Orange Coast College, top right, Fullerton College, bottom left, Coastline Community College, bottom right. Cameron Osburn/Lariat 

Saddleback College held their third Zoom meeting on Thursday, Sept. 17, consisting of only students to discuss the possibility of retiring the Gaucho.

Hosted by Shawn O’Rourke and Lucas Ochoa, who are both speech instructors at Saddleback College, a student forum was held to discuss the peoples’ points of view of the Gaucho and new ideas for mascots.

“The goal of this meeting is to respect others and not attack anybody,” O’Rourke said. 

The Gaucho is a representation of our school. Many attendees do not know the history of the Gaucho because it has not been discussed before. The Gaucho is offensive because it is an Argentinian Cowboy with a thick mustache and who rides a horse. 

Although Saddleback has gotten rid of the mascot, the paint of the Gaucho is still there. In softball and baseball dugouts, the mascot painting remains. It originated from an old Hollywood film “The Gaucho” in 1927 and is hurtful to minorities and Latinx individuals. 

“The Gaucho has been marked by some controversy,” said Ochoa. “The symbol was portrayed as a Mexican character, long mustache, incredibly hurtful to minorities and Latinx individuals.”

Over 40 students in the forum discussed possible changes in the mascot. Also, Hispanic attendees of the forum talked about their point of view of the Gaucho. 

“We struggle in our society now to agree with things,” said Elliot Stern, President of Saddleback College. “Talk to someone and assume they don’t know where you’re coming from.”

All members during this forum had their own opinions and were guaranteed anonymity.

Many attendees discussed numerous ideas for a mascot change: a Roadrunner, Owl and Bobcat were a couple of mascots discussed. Among the forum members, their idea of change to a Roadrunner was agreed upon by many students.

“Change it so something that won’t hurt anybody,” said an anonymous member, “For it to be sexist and racist, I don’t want to be represented in that kind of way.”

Many students in the forum showed how much they appreciated Saddleback and the opportunities it presents but did not like the Gaucho and what it stands for. 

“The Gaucho dialogue has created numerous perspectives and ideas on what Saddleback College represents,” Ochoa said.  

President Stern said he would not have a vote to remove the Gaucho. Instead, he will have a vote to choose whatever that mascot is when the time comes.

The community forum is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept 22, from 4:30-6 p.m over Zoom.