Texas college considers scrapping Rangers mascot

Pressure from student groups has prompted the administration of San Antonio College to consider replacing its nearly century old mascot.

Student activists claim that Texas Rangers are guilty of numerous historical atrocities as well as racist violence aimed at Texans of Hispanic, Black, and Indian heritage.

To resolve the issue, San Antonio College is in the process of soliciting the opinions of those in its community to guide its actions.

San Antonio College is assessing whether to remove and replace its Texas Ranger mascot.

The announcement came Wednesday in an update to the school’s website, accompanied by a video message from the SAC’s president, Robert Vela, who opened by reminding community members of the institution’s approaching centennial anniversary. 

He stated that such an event encourages the school to “reexamine our history, contemplate our future and prepare for wonderful things ahead.” The virtual address continued with Vela explicitly acknowledging the movement to change the college’s mascot as well as the controversy surrounding it, stating that there is “a strong sense of urgency to take action.” 

Vela concluded his address by informing students that they have an opportunity to submit comments on the matter, explaining that all comments will be “professionally tallied and then shared with the college council” prior to a vote on the mascot’s fate with commenters being allowed to speak at the meeting where the voting will take place. 

The video itself is marked as unlisted on YouTube, with comments disabled.

[RELATED VIDEO: Students say these college mascots are ‘offensive’]

Neither Vela nor the college’s public relations office responded to requests for comment.

The push to replace the Ranger as San Antonio College’s mascot goes back at least 8 months to an online petition authored by a member of the city’s community. The petition claims that the ranger is a “symbol of Mexican-American oppression” that students feel to be “problematic” and calls for it to not only be replaced but totally disassociated from the college.

The petition was co-signed by a dozen Hispanic student advocacy groups from a number of surrounding colleges and universities. As of the time of publication of this article, the petition had received 399 total signatures, 101 short of the 500 signature goal.

Somos La Gente, or “We the People,” is one of the student organizations that has advocated for the replacement of San Antonio College’s mascot, citing what they believe to be a history of racist violence perpetrated by Texas Rangers. The organization describes itself as existing to promote “culture, knowledge and community” through “Chicano/a/x, Mexican American and Latinx empowerment.” 

On its public Facebook page, it encourages members of San Antonio College’s community to voice their support for the removal of the Ranger in response to the college’s request for public feedback. When asked to expand on the reasoning behind replacing their school’s mascot and if they wish to alter anything else about their campus, Somos La Gente did not respond to requests for comment.

[RELATED: UNLV takes down statue of ‘racist’ mascot]

Opinions on the matter, however, are not uniform among students and young people in the San Antonio Area. 

Elizabeth Amy Hernandez, Vice President of the Young Republicans of Bexar County, was “bewildered and shocked” that the ranger is considered offensive. “As a college student,” she stated, “I take a lot of pride in my university, in the values my school promotes, and even my mascot!” Elizabeth says she reached out to students at SAC with political beliefs different from her own, stating that “they were just as shocked as I was” regarding the potential fate of the school’s mascot. 

“San Antonio College is a loved and well-known school that is cherished and admired” she continued. “It makes absolutely no sense to change the mascot because some people find it offensive.”

At the end of her statement, she asserted “Everything and anything is and can be offensive. Where does this end?”

Members of San Antonio College’s community and residents of San Antonio who are interested in voicing their opinion regarding the proposed removal of their mascot can do so here.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @RobertSchmad