The students at Ole Miss are voting today about whether Ole Miss should have a mascot. The question is over a new one, and I’ve heard three basic student positions– one group saying “a no vote supports Colonel Rebel,” one group earnestly advocating voting yes and moving forward , and one group saying “Lets have a squid-like character who led the rebels against the empire in Star Wars.” There’s a debate about whether the last suggestion is a trap.
The squid reminds me of a campaign in the mid-70s to vote Tilda the Turkey for homecoming queen. The legend was that the earnest Greek students counting the votes counted write-ins for Tilda, the Turkey, and Tilda the Turkey as for three different candidates to avoid a win for poultry. I personally wrote in Tilda the Turkey and felt robbed.
In any event, WMC-TV 5 says they’ll be live down here for the vote, and there’s a longish AP story running– here is what ran in the Times Picayune.
Colonel Reb shall not rise again. That much is certain.
The University of Mississippi dumped the mascot — a caricature of a white plantation owner — in a 2003 effort to distance the school from Old South stereotypes. It’s been without a mascot ever since. A vote Tuesday could change that.
Students will have only two choices in the online referendum: yes, replace the colonel with something else — perhaps a riverboat gambler or a Colonial soldier — or no, remain the only school in the Southeastern Conference without a mascot.
In a world where football is akin to religion, and sports symbolism carries the power of a totem, this is no small matter. Stories about the vote have run prominently in the campus newspaper for weeks, along with “Save Colonel Reb” advertisements.
“We’re tired of having nothing to represent us,” said junior Josh Hinton, a member of the Associated Student Body, which approved a resolution calling for the vote. “We’ve gotten our song taken away. We want to have some kind of tradition back.”
Continue reading Ole Miss mascot vote today