The University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley hasn’t even opened, but proposals for its cowboy-like mascot has already hit the activist trifecta.
Protesters argue that the “Vaqueros” mascot would be racist, sexist, and culturally insensitive.
Some students, scholars and others associated with the newly forming University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley are demanding University President Guy Bailey step down after he helped pave the way for its mascot to be “Vaqueros.”
Vaquero is masculine in Spanish, and it was criticized not only for gender bias, but critics also said “a Vaquero and the eventual cartoon depiction of one will be drastically culturally insensitive and ripen with Hispanic stereotypes.”
But Bailey recommended the “Vaqueros” mascot, and the University of Texas System Board of Regents officially and unanimously approved “Vaqueros” as the athletic nickname for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley earlier this month. The university is coming together through the merger of two older campuses in the region and is slated to open next fall.
“The vaqueros were the horsemen and cattle herders who laid the foundation for the North American cowboy and cowboy culture,” Bailey has stated. “There is no more iconic figure in American lore than the cowboy and that iconic figure was born in the Rio Grande Valley.”
The petition calling for Bailey to resign accuses him of not having the “necessary skills” to lead the university community.
…University spokesperson Letty Fernandez told The College Fix that while they expected negative reactions, there have also been positive comments.
University officials also released a statement last week that clarified the meaning of “Vaqueros,” and defended the decision.
“The vaquero and vaquera represent the tenacity, perseverance, intelligence and ambition of all who settled the Old West,” its officials said in a Nov. 14 statement. “Both men and women played an equal role in the proud pioneering history of Texas and the nicknames vaqueros and vaqueras for men’s and women’s teams honor that revolutionary spirit.”
University’s new ‘vaqueros’ mascot decried as ‘racist, gender biased’ (The College Fix)