Saddleback College in Mission Viejo retiring controversial mascot

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Saddleback Community College students play a game of chess on campus in an undated photo. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Saddleback Community College students play a game of chess on campus in an undated photo. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

After years of turmoil and heated debate, Saddleback College announced this week that it’s getting rid of its mascot, one that many see as a racist caricature.

Saddleback President Elliot Stern made the decision to retire the school’s gaucho mascot following a petition signed by hundreds, several community forums and recommendations from the school’s three governing bodies.

“It became our college’s Confederate flag,” Stern said over the phone, alluding to the controversial banner seen by many as a symbol of racism and slavery.

The Gaucho mascot, depicting an angry Mexican man riding a horse, has long drawn comparisons with the Frito Bandito, considered a racist brand logo. A gaucho is an Argentinian cowboy.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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