The Marauder Walks the Plank
In September of last year, senior representatives Julia Cook and Reilly Uiterwyk brought the rather controversial motion of changing the mascot to Council. Heated discussions within Council began, which rippled into school-wide discussions. However, the motion was failed due to little support from the student body as well as not enough information about how the motion would be implemented (most notably, where the funds would come from). Soon after, junior representative Pierce Seigne brought a motion to create an Ad Hoc committee, whose purpose would be to research how a mascot change could be properly executed. This committee was formed and elected two co-chairs, Zane Schiffman and Reilly Uiterwyk.
The committee then returned to Council after months of interviewing alumni, sending out Google surveys, and working through piles of records from decades ago. Zane and Reilly gave a presentation to Council and to the school board where they shared the specifics on how the mascot could be changed; they spoke about funding, the status of support, and how other schools (including Lebanon High School) had gone about changing their own mascots. The motion to change the mascot was then brought back to Council, however, the tone had changed. The extensive research conducted by the committee had convinced many representatives to lean in favor of the change. Finally, on March 17, 2021, the vote was conducted. It was official: Council had voted to remove the Marauder.
On March 31, I sent out a Google survey to the whole school, asking students and staff what their reaction to the mascot change was. Those who responded were made aware that their answers would be used in a Broadside article.
The results are as follows:
It is clear that most people either didn’t want the change or simply didn’t care. This attitude was certainly reflected in the Council discussions held when this motion was proposed and was part of the reason why the motion was originally failed.
As a Council member, it was amazing to see that about two-thirds of the people who responded to this survey showed up to Council discussions, regardless of whether their opinion changed or not.
For this question, respondents were given the choice to choose between “happy,” “frustrated,” “fine,” and “don’t care.” They were allowed to choose more than one prompt and were also allowed to write in a response. Some of the write-in responses were: “finally!!!”, “It seems like a waste of time and money,” “While I would’ve wished that the Marauder be kept because I have personal ties with it, I understand that a change may have been necessary if it was negatively affecting people,” and “I feel like they didn’t take our opinions into account and only went with the few people who wanted to change it.”
This was the most disheartening part of the survey. Many, many people felt like their voices weren’t heard. Some of the write-in comments were “90% said not to change the mascot, but you still changed it. Voices were definitely not heard” and “Is this a joke? was there not survey sent out thst [sic] revealed that a strong majority of the student body did not want to remove the marauder? No, of course my voice wasn’t heard.”
At the end of the survey, participants had the option to leave a comment. Below are some of these comments:
Ultimately, as a Council member, I see this whole process as a learning experience. It is clear that many people felt that their voices were not heard, which is the exact opposite of what Council’s purpose is, or what it strives to do. I hope that moving forward, Council and the general student body continue to work together to promote the democratic principles of our school with specific emphasis on ensuring that all members of our school community feel that their voices are heard.