The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Mascot survey gets second chance

Student Senate unanimously approved a resolution to form the Blugold Mascot Task Force that will administer a new mascot survey with different options.

The resolution came after more than 1,180 students signed a petition saying that they felt the bird option wasn’t given a fair chance and that a new survey needed to be issued. The new survey will be conducted from April 27-29 and will offer the ox, a mythical bird, a “none of these” option, and an “I don’t want a Mascot at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire” option.

Casey Driscoll, an author of the resolution and creator of the bird some students support, thought the issue needed to be revisited.

“We feel there was a lack of transparency with the original committee, so we want a new student-only committee that will send out a new survey,” Driscoll said.

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Driscoll stressed that it was a two-phase process, the first of which involves students, and the second is getting alumni involved.

If the bird can get enough support through the student-only survey, he said he would then begin a larger movement to get faculty and alumni support before anything else could happen. If enough support is gained through those groups, he thinks the bird could potentially become adopted.

There are many things Driscoll has planned to gain enthusiasm if the survey results are in the bird’s favor, but he wasn’t willing to get into the details quite yet.

“The plan is big,” Casey Driscoll said. “We want to put Eau Claire on the map.”

The task force was originally going to be just five Student Senators, but Sen. Jake Johnson suggested an amendment to add three non-senator students, one representative of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, one from the Office of the Chancellor, one from the Athletic Department, one from Housing and Residence Life and one from the Department of Music.

Johnson thought the task force would have more credibility with representatives from different places. He also thought it was important for the two groups to show they can work together, because he believes it’s possible.

“It shows senate reaching out to faculty and the administration, not saying ‘Hey, you screwed up,’ but instead that we want to work with you to make this process better,” Johnson said.

Senators then debated whether or not they felt just students should be on this panel, or if faculty needed to get involved. Those against it thought that it was important for the mascot movement to gain momentum first just through students, and that it wasn’t necessary to get faculty involved right away.

That amendment failed 3-20, but senators then voted on a smaller amendment to still add three non-senator students to the task force, and that passed 17-6.

Johnson was pleased to see some of it passed and thought it was important for students who aren’t senators to have their opinions heard, especially after the controversy of the Blugold Commitment.

“Too often (senators) think senators can solve everything, but we can’t,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to get more non-senators involved, and they want to be involved, we just have to open commissions up.”

Driscoll acknowledged that there is a lot of work for him ahead, but this was the first step. He said he originally was not interested in getting involved, but once he saw the overwhelming support for the bird, he felt he needed to do what he thought was right.

“The students have spoken and they feel slighted,” Driscoll said. “They want the obvious choice, which is a mythical bird.”

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Mascot survey gets second chance