In a recent petition urging the Chancellor and UC Board of Regents to enact swift and lasting change, local raccoons from all over UCSB and Isla Vista have banded together calling for a new UCSB mascot representative of their image and likeness. Supporters have enacted a campus-wide strike involving thousands of faculty, staff, and students who have either refused to work or withheld their tuition until their demands are met.
“Look, all we’re saying is the Gaucho mascot is outdated and past its prime,” said group leader Rocket Richardson, chair of the UCSB Vermin Preservation Committee. “Let’s replace this racist human caricature with someone who represents all of us – the Marauding Mapache!”
By using the Spanish word for raccoon, petitioners hope to make the Latino members of the raccoon community at UCSB feel more welcome and included. “This is a huge step forward for celebrating diversity on our campus,” said Jose Comedor de Basura, delegate of the LARA (Latin-American Raccoon Association). “Plus, we’ll also be bringing further attention and awareness to the rabies afflictions that have devastated many among our students and faculty.”
Reports indicate that with more than 60% of the Isla Vista population made up entirely of raccoons, the chancellor and other board members are feeling the pressure to bend to their demands, or risk losing out on over half of this quarter’s expected tuition revenue.
“I can neither confirm nor deny the rumored existence of an Emergency Mascot Committee,” said Chancellor Yang, “But once we have reached a decision, I’m confident that everyone involved will be able to set aside their differences and celebrate as a community.” When pressed for details, Yang gave no further specifics but assured reporters that plans are “in the works” for a mascot inclusive of all students, no matter what trash can, dumpster, or waste bin they call home.
Student reaction to the initiative has been overwhelmingly positive in support of the petition. “The raccoon is an unproblematic and noble animal,” said second-year Nathaniel Bunner, pausing to dig into a box of half-eaten Freebirds nachos from his favorite local dumpster. “Furthermore, our-I mean, their commitment to reducing waste is reflective of the university’s green values.”
While skeptics contend that cold hard cash is the only green that this school truly values, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Margaret Klawunn has summarily dismissed these allegations. “What’s most important for our students is for them to have a safe learning environment that fosters curiosity, creativity, and academic achievement.” “And,” she continued, “This shit ain’t free. You try keeping the lights on with positive vibes and good intentions – let’s just say that your tuition dollars are the only green that can’t be recycled around here.”
At press time, sources close to the chancellor confirmed that a preliminary compromise reached by the Emergency Mascot Committee would replace Gaucho Joe’s cowboy hat with a raccoon skin cap, as well as add a liberal amount of black face-paint around his eyes and foam coming out of his mouth.
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