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Cal State Long Beach to retire 'controversial' Prospector Pete mascot because of inclusivity

California State University, Long Beach, will retire its controversial Prospector Pete mascot. (Image source: KCBS-TV video screenshot)

California State University, Long Beach will say "goodbye" to its longtime mascot, Prospector Pete, the school announced on Thursday.

The college is ridding itself of the "controversial" mascot after students rallied to retire the mascot because of its allegedly offensive and non-inclusive nature.

What are the details?

The school opted to replace the mascot after the university's student group voted to retire the mascot and its corresponding statue. According to the student group, Prospector Pete "represents a time of genocide against indigenous people during the Gold Rush."

The group first voted on the issue back in May and subsequently formed a committee on how to proceed without Prospector Pete.

In May, school spokesperson Jeff Bliss told KCBS-TV that the school wanted to examine its options, since the campus is on land previously occupied by indigenous people.

"We want to do something that gives a more comprehensive look at us as a campus and the land we’re on," Bliss said.

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley issued a statement on the move, noting that inclusivity is a "core value" of the educational institution.

“Inclusive excellence is a core value of the Long Beach State University community,” Conoley said. “Our work in this arena is never done. We want to ensure that we hear from as many people as possible who have a stake not only in the issue at hand, but also in the life and history of our campus. I’m heartened to have heard from so many students, faculty, staff and alumni who are helping learn from past without rancor, but with a commitment to unity and compassion.”

What about the statue of the mascot?

A statue of the mascot, which was erected on a campus quad, will also be moved to a new alumni center. A new school mascot has yet to be determined.

The school shared an update about the move on Twitter: "Preserving our history, and evolving our traditions to reflect what our campus is today and what it will be in the future. Prospector Pete will be retired as our mascot. #NewEra #GoBeach."

One last thing…
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