Tag Archives: mascots

The best colleges can have the worst mascots

Since most of our brains are fried from all of the last minute midterms and papers due in anticipation for Thanksgiving Break, I figure to treat students and faculty alike with a fun little article about the Nation’s worst college mascots.

Let’s start with a school that Linfield knows very well, Whitman College. Whitman has a reputation for rigorous academics and some of the most successful athletic programs in the Northwest Conference. But another reputation that they have is their embarrassing school mascot which the students refer to as: the “Fighting Missionary.”

The Whitman Missionaries have made the list of MSN’s “22 worst college mascots to ever stroll a sideline” in April of this year.

While, religion is a powerful entity that can certainly induce fear into many people, it doesn’t quite seem to hit the competitive note sports lovers crave. Missionaries spread the message of love, peace and the word of God. That kind of spiritual message doesn’t sound like it would transfer to the athletic fields. Nor does it sound cool screaming at the top of your lungs: “Go Missionaries.” At best, you may be able to disorient the opposing team for a few seconds with that terrible cheer.

The official mascot of Whitman College is the Missionary after the missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman for whom the college is dedicated. The “fighting missionary” icon was created to make it more fitting for athletic events.

In 1951, yearbook editor Bob Worrall (1952) decided it was time to design a picture to match the name, creating their most current form of the mascot “Marc-the Fighting Missionary,” symbolizing that truth and freedom will always prevail.

Well that’s sweet and all, but the Fighting Missionaries still doesn’t strike fear into my heart.

Now let’s move from the Pacific Northwest to the East Coast. Dartmouth College is a private, Ivy League institution located in Hanover, New Hampshire. They too, are also known for their achievements on the field and in the classroom, but Dartmouth actually has a dirty little secret that the administration and faculty of the college refuse to recognize.  Dartmouth has a beloved yet controversial unofficial mascot: “Keggy the Keg.”

Yes, Dartmouth’s unofficial mascot is guy dressed up as a keg earning them the honor of the most bro-tastic mascot. According to an article released by the college in August, Yahoo Sports has named Keggy the Keg as the nation’s top out-there college mascot in its list of 25 candidates.

Dartmouth College has had many unofficial mascots such as the Indians, the moose, and the mouse but many students are unwilling to accept an official mascot for the college. Many people refer to Dartmouth by its nickname “The Big Green” which is based on students’ adoption of a shade of forest green (“Dartmouth Green”) as the school’s official color in 1866.

In recent years, Keggy the Keg has created a few controversies. Shortly after Keggy’s introduction in 2003, a group of students stole the mascot’s costume from its home in the Sigma Nu fraternity library.

The thieves sent threatening notes to Keggy’s creators including photographs of the mascot bound and gagged with one black eye. Keggy was eventually returned to its home with minor damages to the costume and has since been repaired and restored.

In 2006, the unofficial mascot was prohibited by the administration to attend any home field sporting events.

However, in 2011 Keggy the Keg returned to the home section and has been again embraced by the students as their beloved unofficial mascot.

So there we you have it, two of the worst college mascots in the United States. Now finish this week strong Wildcats and have a wonderful Thanksgiving Break.

 Camille Weber/Sports Columnist


Professor hosts lecture against animals as mascots

Joel Ray/Senior photographer

Joan Forry, visiting assistant professor of philosophy, discussed with students the colleges that use live animals as mascots, and why students should instead find a different way to represent themselves.

On Nov. 29, Joan Forry, visiting assistant professor of philosophy, presented her academic lecture “Against Animals as Sports Team Mascots.”

Forry received her undergraduate degree from Heidelberg University, home of the Student Princes, and received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Temple University, which has the mascot Hooter the Owl, in 2008.

Forry’s lecture asked the question: “How many colleges and universities have mascots?” and “How many animal mascots are used?”

There are 33 live animal mascots in the
Division-I schools of the NCAA’s Southeastern Conference alone. For the purposes of her lecture, Forry focused primarily on Louisiana State University’s live animal mascot, Mike the Tiger.

“I’ve been interested in animal ethics for a while,” Forry said. “What drew me to the topic was Mike the Tiger. I’ve been following it for a while.”

The first Mike the Tiger was purchased for $750 in 1935 from the Little Rock Zoo. Fans used to be encouraged to pound on the cage to make him roar, but the school was asked to cease after complaints of animal cruelty. After, there were reports of the Tiger being poked with an electric cattle prod to make him roar, which was also shut down.

In the early 2000s, during the age of Mike the Fifth, LSU was ordered to improve his environment on campus. In 2005, a $3 million habitat was built on LSU’s grounds.

The problem with live animal mascots is that the animals might go through direct harm, which she defined as “individual animals that receive inhumane treatment” and indirect harm, which is “symbolic harm through misunderstanding and misrepresentation.” However, according to Forry, “It’s not entirely clear what constitutes harm.”

One example of explicit harm toward animals in the name of athletics was when an unnamed high school in Iowa that was playing against the “Golden Eagles” spray painted a chicken gold and had the young athletes stomp it to death to inspire school spirit.

“I don’t have it entirely fleshed out,” Forry said when asked about the argument against costumed animal mascots. “I think it depends on the body of knowledge that surrounds the mascots. There might be some kind of misrepresentation.”

“Most mascots are offensive somehow,” Forry said when asked about other mascots. “So, we should find another way to represent ourselves.”

Paige Jurgensen

Staff writer

Paige Jurgensen can be reached at