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Posted: 5/21/2005 3:43:33 PM EDT
Pioneer Pete faces gun control
CSU East Bay looks to remake or possibly replace its mascot
By Katy Murphy, STAFF WRITER

HAYWARD — Cal State East Bay's mascot, Pioneer Pete, might go the way of the university's old name. At least his shotgun might.
In the months after the school changed its name from California State University, Hayward, a committee of student athletes, coaches, faculty and alumni has been meeting to help decide whether Pete needs a makeover or an outright replacement.

"Right now, it really looks like we're stuck back in the day," Shamil Nawar, the soccer team's goalie and a committee member. "We should modernize it, make him look a little meaner. Give him an M-16."

Finding an acceptable new mascot hasn't been easy. The most popular suggestions, like Hawks or Eagles, proved too common, too generic. More original ideas, like Wild Turkeys, seemed either corny or bizarre.

If the committee can't come up with a solid alternative, Cal State East Bay can always reinvent what it already has. It wouldn't be the first time.

While the university has long called itself the Pioneers, Pioneer Pete bears no resemblance to the figure in the 1960s — a "space pioneer" in an astronaut suit. In the 1970s, when the excitement of the space race against the Soviet Union subsided, the astronaut morphed into a wild, coonskin-cap-wearing figure akin to Daniel Boone.

"He looked like he was going to create havoc," recalled Marty Valdez, sports information director for CSUEB. "He looked like he was going to do some scalping."

In the 1980s, university officials dumped the scamp and opted for a friendlier character, whom they named Pete. There was a student push to become the Cal State Hayward Vampires during that era, but Pete prevailed in the ensuing election by the skin of his teeth.

Now, some students and administrators have their qualms about Pete's image.



Nawar thinks Pete could use some more muscle. And though the live mascot carries no weapons, fake or real, Debby De Angelis, director of athletics, doesn't like the shotgun in the logo.
"I've been here for four years, and for four years, I've been saying, 'We've got to at least get the gun out of Pioneer Pete's hands,'" De Angelis said.

Valdez, who has been around since the late 1970s, said he could live with a few tweaks. But in the wake of the school's name change, he's not so sure about parting with another aspect of the university's identity.

"I'm a traditional guy," he said. "I'm used to pioneers. I like pioneers. I think it's a great name."

Some students, too, are against the idea of a new mascot.

"A lot of them say, 'First we change the school name, and then we change the mascot. What's next?'" Nawar said.

But Nawar noted that the Pioneer name and mascot is far less dear to the students than their school's old name, whose loss defied popular opinion on campus. In fact, he said, some athletes didn't even know what the mascot was called when he asked for their input.

"I don't think they'll be up in arms until they change it and it's a bad name," he said.

The group is expected to make a recommendation next month to the members of the university's Integrated Marketing Committee, who will then tell President Norma Rees what they think Pete's future should hold.

Link Posted: 5/21/2005 3:47:39 PM EDT
I think they should get rid of Debby De Angelis...
Link Posted: 5/21/2005 3:47:43 PM EDT
I thought the University of Massachusetts Minuteman symbol has been a point of controversy for years, both due to him holding a rifle, and the rather new social negative nickname "Minuteman", given derisively to men with a "Minute Man" tendency.
Link Posted: 5/21/2005 3:49:47 PM EDT
WVU has a guy with a musket.

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