Students seeking a new mascot
Tired of cheering for a large color, four Dartmouth athletes are preparing a campaign to give the College a new mascot.
Hank Brier '98, Peter Halas '98, Jay Lavender '97 and Matt Sechrest '97 say they take their mission very seriously; they have already met with administrators, and they say they will bring the issue before the Alumni Council and the Student Assembly later this term.
"Nothing's wrong with the Big Green, we'd still have it part of the name," said Brier. "But it would be nice to be able to say, 'Go Mountaineers,' or whatever."
"It would increase school spirit and spirit for the teams," he added.
Sechrest said he would like to see the entire student body vote on whether to adopt a mascot.
"I haven't found one person who likes the Big Green," Sechrest said.
Brier said the "Mountaineers," the "Wolves" and the "Moose" are popular among students, although the group has yet to declare a favorite.
Athletic Director Dick Jaeger, who met with the students during Winter term, said he might support a new mascot.
"I think it would be nice to have a mascot or symbol of some kind," he said. "It would be great if we could find one."
Jaeger said students have made numerous efforts to find a new mascot since the College abandoned the unofficial Indian symbol in 1972.
"No one has gotten beyond first base," he said. "One group offers up something, and another group says, 'We don't like that.'"
"The biggest hurdle is finding something the various constituencies of the College can agree on," he said.
Jaeger said any potential mascot's success would depend on its reception by students, alumni, administrators and the Board of Trustees.
Jaeger said the Indian mascot would never be seriously considered.
"It can't be something that is a buffoon type thing or something that is offensive," he said.
Brier said adoption of the Indian mascot "wouldn't happen. There is no way."
"It can't offend anyone," he said.
Although Jaeger said he did not know what constituency has the power to change the mascot, he said the Alumni Council is important.
Even though the Alumni Council has no direct influence on College policy, it can make recommendations to administrators. The Indian mascot was abandoned after a recommendation by the Alumni Council, according to a 1972 issue of The Dartmouth.
Douglas Chia '93, a member of the Aumni Council, said it would be easy to recommend an unofficial mascot for The College. The College has never officially embraced a mascot, even though the Indian appeared on College stationery and athletic uniforms.
He said even the "Big Green" is an unofficial moniker.
According to a 1972 issue of The Dartmouth, the Indian mascot was a short-lived phenomenon, compared to the College's two-hundred year age.
"The symbol was never officially adopted by the College, but Green teams were given the names of Indians by Boston sports writers in the 1920s to symbolize the savagery of the men of the then almost inaccessible North Woods," the story states.
Chia said the mascot issue is not on the group's agenda.
But he said the "Alumni Council would be open for considering anything the students brought forth, if it was clear the students had a very open and honest debate about it."
"I talked to a number of alums who are really for the 'Moose,'" he said.
Sechrest said Dean of the College Lee Pelton told him cost might be a barrier to adopting a mascot.
Jaeger agreed it could be an expensive change.
Cost would depend "on how widespread we want to incorporate it ," he said. "One thing that is not cheap is to start changing uniforms or sewing insignias. It would take some time."
During the 1970s, the College phased out Indian stationery and uniforms slowly to minimize expense.