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Rutgers Students Demand Black, Female And Third-Gender Representation Among Mascots

The student government at Rutgers University has approved a resolution calling for the creation of more diverse mascots at the school, arguing the current Scarlet Knight mascot is too white and too male to represent the current student body.

The resolution says the current mascot should be joined by several additional Scarlet Knights who are black, Hispanic, female or even third-gender, though no exact line-up is specified.

The Rutgers Scarlet Knight mascot
The Rutgers Scarlet Knight mascot

“That we would really leave it up to the different student organizations … and basically the student body as a whole to determine how many knights they’d like and what these knights would represent,” Rutgers student assembly parliamentarian Emmet Brennan told The Daily Targum.

Brennan introduced the resolution, after deciding it “does not seem right” for Rutgers who have a white, blue-eyed, male mascot represent the entire campus.

While the resolution passed the student assembly, it still has a ways to go to before the white Scarlet Knight is joined by a black Hispanic third-gender one. Brennan says he has to take the resolution before school administrators, who could choose whether to provide resources to fund the development of new mascot costumes. Brennan also told the Targum he would have to overcome “inevitable” backlash from alumni.

“I mean, obviously you’re going to have people who are going to say, you know, we’re destroying tradition,” he said. “There’s always going to be people who complain, but I think we won’t receive that much pushback because we are keeping the current knight. We’re just, I think, taking pride in our current diversity as a school as we are now, but also recognizing where we were.”

Even if alumni and the school administration object, however, it’s possible the student assembly could fund additional mascot costumes on its own. If students have sufficient willpower, it’s possible that the creation of new mascots is just a matter of time.

This isn’t the first time Rutgers traditions have been targeted in the name of greater inclusion. Two years ago, the school’s 140-year-old alma mater, “On the Banks of the Old Raritan,” was modified to have gender-neutral lyrics.

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