Final verdict: sharks are in as CSULB’s new mascot

After a months-long process of receiving mascot idea submissions, polling the community and putting it to a student vote, Cal State Long Beach has a new mascot: sharks.

CSULB’s president Jane Close Conoley ratified the results of the student’s vote on Friday, according to a release from the university. Out of the options of sharks, stingrays and no mascot, sharks won 53% of the vote.

“We have benefited from a thoughtful, thorough, and inclusive process by our students,” Conoley said. “I am grateful to all the university’s stakeholders for their participation.”

The student referendum ended last week. According to Associated Students Inc. leaders, about 30% of the student body voted in the referendum— that’s significant compared to the 10% of students who voted in the last student government election.

“There’s been a lot of work going on behind the scenes and we’re happy that we were able to get it done in a year,” Leen Almahdi, ASI vice president said. “We got a lot of people involved.”

The student leaders also acknowledge that Conoley could’ve rejected the student’s choice when the referendum hit her desk and were happy that she accepted it instead, Genesis Jara, ASI president said.

“The choice of ‘sharks’ aligns with the campus’ renowned Shark Lab and its proximity to the beach,” the release said.

Prospector Pete, the university’s previous mascot, was retired last spring after students and others protested the association to the Gold Rush era and related atrocities to Native Americans.

The term “’49er” will still be yet another informal nickname for those affiliated to the university, although Conoley has previously noted that the numbers refer to the year 1949, when the university was founded, not 1849.

It’s not yet clear what the campus organizations that still use the term will do, including the student newspaper the Daily 49er, ’49er Foundation and the ’49er Shops.

However, the athletics program will continue to use “Beach Athletics” and “Beach” as a prefix.

Now the university will go into a year-long process with a steering committee—appointed by Conoley— that will decide the look, characteristics and uniform design of the shark.

The Post in December conducted an unofficial mascot contest with community artists and a vote in December with “Hammerhead sharks” taking second after stingrays. CSULB’s more official contest and community poll  in April yielded similar results.

“The Long Beach Hammerheads” by Long Beach native Alexander Villalobos.

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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband, Steven, and her cat/child, Jones.
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