Cal State Long Beach Retires Prospector Pete Mascot Amid Cries of Racism, Genocide During California Gold Rush
Cal State Long Beach is sending Prospector Pete packing.
The towering bronze statue that sits in the plaza outside the liberal arts building soon will be relocated to a less prominent place on campus as the university officially moves to retire the mascot that some say represents the state’s history of racism and genocide against Native Americans.
The university’s announcement Thursday comes on the heels of a decades-long debate over the suitability of the “49ers” image, which pays homage to the state’s gold rush, on a college campus that has increasingly welcomed a more culturally diverse student population in recent years.
“As our diversity grew and more voices were heard, we came to know that the 1849 California gold rush was a time in history when the indigenous peoples of California endured subjugation, violence and threats of genocide,” President Jane Close Conoley said in a statement. “Today, the spirit of inclusivity is reflected in our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community. Today’s Beach is not connected to that era.”
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