Ole Miss Students Begin Voting On Whether To Change Mascot To The Landshark

OXFORD, Miss. (localmemphis.com) - University of Mississippi students are casting their ballots of whether they want 'Rebel the Black Bear' or the 'Landshark' as a mascot.  The student-led initiative isn't binding, but will give university leaders a chance to change Ole Miss’ on-field mascot for the first time in seven years.


Local 24 spoke to dozens of students Tuesday, and not one said they voted 'against' the Landshark. In fact, many told us they think a new face for Ole Miss athletics can be a unifying force after a tough few months with NCAA allegations hovering over the football program.  

 

Tuesday, student campaigning was in the air on Ole Miss’ campus, from campus personality elections to a vote with potentially much longer ramifications; a new on-field mascot, the Landshark.
 

“I really hope they make the change, if the students say they want the Landshark, I feel like they should make it happen,” says freshman LaKymberya Buckner.

 

Students flipped out their phones to cast their vote ‘yes’ or ‘no” for the Landshark. The name is inspired by former Ole Miss linebacker Tony Fein, who originated the ‘fins up’ sign after big plays.
 

“I think it's the best fit to try something new for a change, because we've progressed as a university, and I think it's time to become more unified with each other, I think the Landshark will bring us more together,” says sophomore William Stonewall.
 

The school retired ‘Colonel Reb’ in 2003. Landshark would replace ‘Rebel the Black Bear,’ Ole Miss’ mascot since 2010, the winner of a three-way vote that year between students, alumni, and season ticket holders. Landshark finished second in that election, and Ole Miss students we caught up with believe 2017 should be a new day for a new mascot.
 

“I think it's just trying to get people excited about Ole Miss Football, it's kind of been a hard year so far,” says senior Madeline McGrath.

 

“There's been a lot of tension on campus and I feel like this will reunite the student body over a mascot will identify with, the landshark,” says sophomore Charlotte Shackleford.

 

"I'm for the Landshark over the Black Bear, but personally I think we should have done a little more thinking about and come up with something better,” says senior Clifton Carroll.

 

The University of Mississippi released a statement which says, "This referendum is a student-led initiative being conducted through an Associated Student Body process. While we will not speculate on the outcome of their process, we value the important role that students play as an active voice in the life of our campus community. We are always interested in the viewpoints of our students.”

 

Students have until Friday to vote, but it’s unclear when the university would make a final decision.

 


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