Marist Quietly Changes Controversial Mascot’s Name
Angry Marist College students have started a petition to reinstate their beloved mascot's name.
On Tuesday the news quickly made its way across the country, with newspapers like the Washington Post picking up on the shocking discovery that Marist's basketball mascot "Shooter" had quietly been given a new name.
The animated fox, who wears a Marist basketball jersey and cheers on the team at every game, is now officially named "Frankie."
According to an official statement from Marist College, the name change was made due to recent tragedies involving gun violence.
We felt this was the right time to make a change: Marist wants its athletics program to be associated with positive experiences and not in any way linked to the incidences of gun violence that have sadly become too common.
"Shooter" was renamed "Frankie" as a nod to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who famously lived nearby in Hyde Park, New York. Marist College also happens to host the digital archives for the Presidential Library and Museum. Some students were stunned by the name change, upset that the decision was made without any input from the Marist community.
A petition has been started by members of the student body that demands the school reinstate the name "Shooter." While the request recognizes that gun violence is a major issue, it says the name change is going too far.
Although there is a prominent amount of gun violence in America at this time, Marist students are able to differentiate the name of a mascot and a political issue. We, as students, respectfully give our condolences to those affected by gun violence, but we also miss our beloved Shooter, and would like his name to be reinstated.
The petition was started on Tuesday evening, and overnight there were already 294 signatures.
As of Tuesday, the Athletic Department's page on Marist's website still referred to their mascot as "Shooter." By Wednesday morning, however, the page had been scrubbed of all references to the mascot's former name, only referring to him as "Frankie the Red Fox."
While "Shooter" has disappeared from the website, articles that continue to tout Marist's now-disgraced alumni member, Bill O'Reilly, still appear. A story about a scholarship given in O'Reilly's name calls the fired Fox News reporter one of schools "most talented, entrepreneurial, and engaged students."
The Marist Athletic Department's official YouTube channel still features videos of Shooter, including this interview from 2014.
We want to know what you think about the name change. Do you think it makes sense in light of recent gun violence? Or do you believe the change was an overreaction? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page or in the comments section below.