By Sara McNeil
Arkansas State University
The Arkansas State University Mascot Review Committee met Monday and voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to recommend retiring the university’s mascot. The committee’s review was initiated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s ruling of August, 2005, on the use of Native American imagery by member institutions. Jim Pickens, chair of the committee, stated that in adopting the resolution, the committee has completed phase I of its charge. The Mascot Review Committee was appointed by ASU Chancellor Dr. Robert L. Potts to consider the university’s continued use of the Indian nickname and mascot to represent ASU’s athletic teams and to make a recommendation that was in the best short-term and long-term interests of ASU. The committee’s passage of the resolution constitutes a recommendation to Dr. Potts based on that evaluation.
After an amendment to the language of the draft resolution to include the name “Indians” in the last paragraph, the amended resolution passed unanimously. The resolution reads,
“WHEREAS the National Collegiate Athletic Association has adopted a policy declaring the use of Native American mascots by its member institutions to be hostile and abusive and further declaring that member institutions using such imagery will not be allowed to host any NCAA post season championship event; display such imagery at championship events, and references to Native American mascots can not be displayed or used by other groups associated with member institutions, such as cheerleaders, dance teams, bands, spirit groups, etc., at such events, and
WHEREAS other difficulties (e.g., athletic scheduling, university image, student and faculty recruitment, etc.) may affect institutions that continue to use such Native American imagery, and
WHEREAS Arkansas State University is a voluntary member of the NCAA and, as such, is subject to this policy, and
WHEREAS Arkansas State University seeks to continue its participation in NCAA intercollegiate athletics at the highest level and without sanctions, and
WHEREAS Arkansas State University “Indians” and Native American imagery, including Chief Big Track, the Indian Brave and Indian Princess (Indian Family), have constituted ASU’s mascot brands since 1931, and
WHEREAS Arkansas State University desires to ensure an atmosphere of sensitivity and respect for all its students, faculty, staff, and other constituencies, and
WHEREAS the Mascot Review Committee is mindful that it has been charged with seeking a recommendation that is in the best long term interest of the University and has considered the question of “retiring” ASU’s Indian mascot and associated Native American imagery and has attempted to involve representatives of the entire ASU constituency in this process,
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Mascot Review Committee recommends to the Chancellor of Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, that this University officially retire the name “Indians” and Indian Family – together with all Native American imagery connected to the intercollegiate athletic program. Such action to be effective on a specific date to be determined by the Board of Trustees; and that the University seek written assurance from the NCAA that upon that date and as a result of this action, Arkansas State University will be immediately removed from the list of “non-complying” institutions as currently published by the NCAA. Further, the committee recommends that “retirement” observances as appropriate for the Indian Family be held with dignity and honor on dates and occasions to be determined; and displays and/or exhibits be developed at suitable locations on the Jonesboro campus, to ensure this tradition (i.e., the Indian Family, nickname, etc.) is remembered as part of the history of Arkansas State University.”
Adopted June 18, 2007
Jim Pickens, Chair
Mascot Review Committee
Phase II of the Mascot Review Committee’s work will include developing an action plan for implementation of the change. The committee also voted to recommend that a sports marketing firm be utilized to assist in a broad-based process to engage all constituents in the development of a new mascot and related imagery. It was the consensus of the committee that this process is developed in such a way as to reflect favorably on the university’s image. The development of the action plan is expected to take two to three weeks.
This resolution and action plan will be formally presented to Dr. Potts when the committee completes its work.
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