Good-bye to the Quaker Man?

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Amidst controversy about a potential mascot change, I decided to sit down with Ms. Rupani, our Director of Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice in an attempt to nail down the facts. After a teacher-responded questionnaire, there rose concern about whether our mascot was an inclusive representation of Quakers, or simply a blatantly offensive caricature. Though Ms. McGinty, Ms. Rutstein, and Ms. Rupani have conferred with one another, the potential change is mere speculation until students – specifically, student athletes – have an opportunity to voice their opinions. FSAA’s collection presentation spurred debate and exposed differing viewpoints. Following, I will describe as best I can the viewpoints of both students in support of and opposing the mascot change.

First, those who support a mascot change. Evidently, our current mascot is derived from the Quaker Oats logo, who in no way is an accurate depiction of actual Quakers. Additionally, teachers and students alike have expressed some discomfort at the fact that a white male should symbolize an entire denomination of Christianity.

Several faculty members have proposed alternatives. Ms. Rupani suggested that, “Ideally, it would be some sort of animal”, amid rumors that a fox, might take the place of the Quaker Oats man. This idea, derived from the founder of Quakerism, George Fox, has recently gained popularity. Mr. McVey suggested we have no mascot at all, and Ms. Hall contended that the idea of a Quaker hyping up crowds was in itself offensive. Many ideas are circulating, but ultimately it is student feedback that will determine the course of this mascot change.

Now, the dissenters. Many students opposed to a mascot change assert that many Quakers were, in fact, white men. Even if they acknowledge that our mascot offends some students, they believe the Quaker Man has become an integral part of our community, especially on Pep Rally and Scarlet and Gray Day.

or example, I sat down with Paul Benzer ‘18, a three-sport varsity athlete and opposer of a mascot change. “I don’t have a problem with it. I feel as though the mascot serves its purpose during Scarlet and Gray Day, but if it offends one person something needs to be done to ensure everybody feels safe.” However, he refuted Ms. Hall’s comment, “saying a Quaker wouldn’t want a mascot because they get the crowd hyped and rowdy is preposterous.”

Evidently, there is little agreement among students on this issue. I wouldn’t expect any mascot change in the near future, especially if student voices are represented proportionally in the FSAA survey. We should, however, be appreciative of the fact that our school is one in which students have the opportunity to and feel comfortable expressing their own opinions.

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