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Posted 6:00 am
February 19, 2014
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Changing the Gator won’t change campus spirit

Strength and steadfastness are the reasons SF State students chose the alligator as their mascot in 1931, and there is no reason to change that. However, school officials have recently contemplated the change to forge a new image for the school and to bolster the image of student athletes.

But what could be more formidable than an alligator?

They kill and eat in a single bite. They use the muscle in their tail to initiate a “death roll,” spinning and convulsing their prey until bite-sized chunks are torn away. Even the way they swim, slowly lurching through water with only eyes popping above the surface, is a menacing and mythical fodder for any scary story.

Nevermind that the alligator is fierce and deadly in a quiet creepy way, changing a mascot is not going to change morale. How many people actually care about the creature selected to represent their school?

The first thought when a basketball player enters the court isn’t, “Alright, gotta show that I’m as tough as an alligator.”

Technically, Stanford doesn’t have an official mascot but the image that commonly represents them is a redwood tree. A tree. An awesome and beautiful tree, but still a tree. If Stanford, who has done incredibly well in football and 25 of their athletes won medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is represented by a tree, then SF State can do just fine represented by a vicious alligator.

And what will happen to all the merchandise already stamped with “gator” or the image of an alligator? All these products would be left to waste — a move definitely against SF State’s pragmatic conserve and reuse credo.

You are what you make yourself to be. Many students at SF State know this aphorism well, as they’re struggling to work and earn a degree that presumably will improve their lot in life.

A Frank doesn’t change his name to Xavier to create a new self and likewise, SF State officials should relax and not change the mascot as if that is the only solution. Real change doesn’t come from the name or the label. Our athletes are steadfastly, like alligators, working to improve themselves. If they excel more than they ever have, do we change the mascot to tigers? If they fail miserably, do we change it to sloths?

Say we did change it.  What would it be? These days, the city is changing dramatically. If officials changed the mascot based on the whims of a mercurial demographic base, what use is that? A change would then be needed in another five years.

It seems that administrative figures, lacking much of a real job to do, are seeking something to fill that void.

When it comes down to it, school officials should take a simple survey from students and get their opinion on the matter. Honestly, it’s our say that should be the final call since students are the ones who best represent the University.