Cal State Long Beach removes Prospector Pete statue

The statue of Prospector Pete, the former mascot of Cal State Long Beach, was removed Friday from the campus where it has been located since 1967.

Cal State Long Beach President Jane Close Conoley announced the statue’s removal from the liberal arts plaza in an email, adding that it would be relocated to the new, Anna W. Ngai Alumni Center scheduled to begin construction in November of 2020.

It was actually in 2018 that Conoley announced the statue, the official name of which is “The Spirit of ’49,” would be removed, saying that the California gold rush it seemed to celebrate was “a time in history when the indigenous peoples of California endured subjugation, violence and threats of genocide.”

The school had already disassociated itself from the Prospector’s image by the time of Conoley’s 2018 announcement; it had ceased appearing on official university materials, including clothing, and was no longer featured at athletic events.

Eventually, the school announced it would be dropping its original nickname of 49ers and launched a search for a new mascot. A student vote, last year, decided on Sharks, though Long Beach State athletic director Andy Fee was quick to announce that school teams would not be called Sharks but be referred to as “Beach” or, in the case of the baseball team, “Dirtbags.

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Steve Lowery began his journalism career at the Los Angeles Times, where he planned to spend his entire career. God, as usual, laughed at his plans and he has since written for the short-lived sports publication The National, the L.A. Daily News, the Press-Telegram, New Times LA, the District and the OC Weekly. He is the Arts & Culture Editor for the Post, overseeing the Hi-lo.
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