Texas college axes Ranger mascot over 'oppressive' history

However, a majority of students surveyed by the school said they wanted to keep the mascot.

A Texas college is ditching its long-held mascot because it says the Texas Rangers have an "oppressive" history.

San Antonio College announced in July that it will remove its “Ranger” mascot.

The Ranger, which has been a part of the school’s tradition since 1926, has been a topic of debate, especially in recent months. In June, the school began a decision-making process to determine whether or not the name should remain. A council voted unanimously to change the mascot.

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“This is a historic day! The debate is over and San Antonio College has gone on record as being inclusive, diverse, empowered, decisive, true to its values – and committed to doing the right thing,” SAC President Dr. Robert Vela said. “We’ve taken a great leap forward and now we can begin the process of fashioning a new mascot identity that reflects the very best qualities of our SAC community.”

The school’s official Twitter account gave students an opportunity to let the administration know how they felt about the school’s mascot. The official SAC Twitter account issued a tweet to a link where students could share their thoughts. The survey found that while only 14 percent and 32 percent of staff and faculty, respectively, wanted to keep the mascot, a whopping 53 percent of students wanted to keep it. Among alumni, 41 percent voted to keep the Ranger mascot while 34 percent of the “community” voted to keep it. 

“Why is there a strong sense of urgency to take action? I’m curious as to why SAC has to ‘stand with’ or agree with every ‘social’ issue out there, or always want to be ‘politically correct’? Not every student has liberal views or ‘stands with’ or wants to be ‘politically correct’ and compromise their values or salvation,” one student wrote on the survey.

Concerns regarding the “Ranger” name are largely centered around the reputation of the Texas Ranger Police Force

Controversy has surrounded the mascot due to the perceived “oppressive” nature of the police force. The school’s official statement notes “Texas Rangers’ documented violence against minorities.”

“For generations, the Rangers were an oppressive force that used violence against Mexicans, Mexican Americans, African Americans, and Native Americans,” the statement read.

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In 2019, a petition on Change.org circulated asking for the nickname to be changed, along with a new mascot that had the “appearance of a stereotypical Mexican bandit.” 

“We, the students of Alamo Colleges, along with the Mexican-American organizations listed here would appreciate your support in respectfully requesting that San Antonio College completely disassociate itself with the problematic legacy of the Texas Rangers and removes the Masked Ranger, who we feel is not only problematic but does not at all represent the students,” the petition read.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Dean_Barker