The Young Politicians Club is campaigning to gain support for changing Marian’s mascot from the Crusader. On Jan. 27, the club, lead by president senior Brooke Huerter, senior Maggie Dowd and senior Natalie Kemler met with principal Susie Sullivan to discuss this possibility.
During their meeting, the club presented a brief history of the Crusades. “Our main focus is: does the Crusader mascot actually reflect Marian’s values?” Huerter said. They juxtaposed events in the Crusades to Marian’s value statements, found on Marian’s website.
This meeting was only the beginning of the crusade to alter the historic mascot. Although Sullivan met with the club, many more people would be involved in this decision if it were to be made. “I have to make many decisions with several other voices involved. I was able to make the call that [students] can wear white socks… This is big,” Sullivan said during the Jan. 27 meeting.
Alumnae, teachers, students, parents and the Catholic school community are all constituents who would have stakes in this decision. A recent rebranding of the school included changing the athletic logo from an image of a Crusader on a horse to a shield with a Marian “M” on the front.
The only place the old logo can be seen in the school is on banners in the East Gym, on the glass in the serving line in the cafeteria and on old Marian apparel.
“We should be promoting acceptance and tolerance, which is the opposite of what the Crusades were. We need something that more accurately represents the Catholic viewpoint,“ Huerter said in a Young Politicians meeting on Jan. 13.
During this meeting, the club members discussed the issues they take with the current mascot, including how women are not commonly positively associated with the Crusades and how the Crusades can be seen as a damaging event in history.
“[Crusaders] hurt people through the process. People were strongly affected by it. At an all-girls school, that’s not what we support anyway. We support love and accepting people of all religions,” freshman and Young Politicians Club member Achay Kual said.
Another change this club is promoting is adding more to the theology curriculum about the Crusades and the Church’s teachings on them. “It’s important to know the history before you put it on a banner,” Dowd said. “We aren’t expecting a quick change… This will be a gradual process.”
The student body is split on this issue, with 48 percent of students wanting to change the mascot and 52 percent content with the current mascot (in a poll of 256 of students).
Although many students wish to change the mascot, they do not all agree on what the mascot should be. Only 24 students out of the 122 students who support a change gave a specific suggestion of a possible new mascot, but the list of potential mascots ranges from Mitochondria to Mammoths and everywhere in between.
Among the students conflicted about the mascot is the mascot herself, senior Lauren Novacek. “I’m not a fan of what [the Crusader] supports. It would be hard to change, since we’ve branded it for over 60 years. I think it is a crucial change for Marian,” Novacek said.
During the meeting on Jan. 27, Huerter, Dowd and Kemler cited schools that changed their mascots from the Crusaders to other mascots, which the most commonly selected mascot being the lions.
Although the club’s long-term goal is to potentially change the mascot to something other than the Crusader, “Our main goal is educating people on the reason behind this [want for] change,” Kemler said. “I think to make any change, before you propose new things, getting the conversation started is the most important thing.”
Any students who are interested in getting involved in Young Politicians Club are invited to an informational meeting (with donuts) in the West Gym on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 8 a.m. during late start.