UNLV is one of two programs at the FBS level to use the “Rebel” nickname and that name has ties back to the confederacy.
All over the country, statues that have ties to racism or slavery have been forcefully taken down or removed by the local government. UNLV is not waiting for it to get to that point, so they went ahead and decided to remove a statue of Hey Reb!, the school’s mascot, from the campus.
“In recent conversations with the donor, we mutually agreed it was best to remove the statue and return it,” said UNLV president Marta Meana, per TMZ. “I have had discussions with multiple individuals and stakeholder groups from campus and the community on how best the university can move forward given recent events throughout our nation. That includes the future of our mascot.”
Hey Reb! has been a UNLV institution since 1983.
On its website, UNLV acknowledged, “While it was a decision based in rivalry and fun, the choice of a Confederate-themed mascot was nonetheless an unfortunate one.”
A Change.org petition demanding that UNLV change its Rebels mascot had more than 4,000 signatures on Wednesday morning.
“The ‘Rebel’ is racist and is rooted in a Confederate mythology which has no place on our campus,” the petition says. “The mascot, originally named ‘Beauregard’ after the Confederate general who fired the first shots of the Civil War, presents a public image that runs counter to our core values and UNLV’s mission to become the leading multicultural university in the United States. Having a mascot that is inextricably connected to a failed regime whose single aim was to preserve the institution of slavery is an embarrassment to our campus and to our community.”