December 4, 2020

Ole Miss students want to give Rebel Black Bear the boot, but will the university listen?

Ole Miss students are hoping to give Rebel Black Bear the boot after a four-day mascot vote resulted in overwhelming favor of adopting the landshark as the university’s official mascot.
More than 4100 votes were cast with 81 percent in favor of replacing the 6-year-old black bear mascot with a landshark, which many fans have adopted as an unofficial mascot for nearly a decade.
However, just because the students want it doesn’t mean the school has to listen.
The Associated Student Body will present an official document to the university before the Vanderbilt game October 14. According to a statement to the AP from Ole Miss spokesman Ryan Whittington, the student referendum represents an advisory vote, meaning Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter and Athletics Director Ross Bjork aren’t bound to make a decision based on the vote alone.
Still, a joint statement from administrators and the athletics department suggests the university is willing to listen to the student body regarding the matter.
“We value the important role that students play as an active voice in the life of our campus community. We are always interested in the viewpoints of our students,” the statement said.
The last time the Ole Miss student body voted on a mascot change was in 2010, when the ASB and administration worked together to offer students the chance to develop a new face for the school following Colonel Rebel’s removal in 2003.