UNLV Dumps ‘Hey Reb!’ Mascot Despite No Connection to Confederacy

UNLV
Getty Images/Ethan Miller

The University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) is dumping its 50-year-old mascot “Hey Reb!” despite that the character’s lack of connection to the history of the Confederate States of America.

Back in June, the school had already begun removing statues and images of its mascot on campus.

The Hey Reb! statue, which stood in front of Richard Tam Alumni Center since 2007, was removed after school officials bowed to unfounded accusations that the mascot was somehow “racist.”

The school’s sports team will continue to be called “The Rebels,” but now UNLV is retiring Hey Reb!, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

“I was drawn to lead this great university because I identified with its spirit, determination, and daring style,” newly ensconced UNLV president Keith Whitfield wrote in a letter to students. “Rebels are not afraid to fail and create a new path when one doesn’t exist. For all these reasons and many more, we will continue to be known as Rebels.'”

Last year, some students began agitating to eliminate “Hey Reb!” and the school’s nickname over mistaken assumptions that they are tied directly to the Confederacy. However, the link is tangential, in truth.

Even the director of the school’s African-American Studies program found that there was little connection to the Confederate States. The school conducted a detailed study of the history of the school’s name and mascots back in 2015 and discovered that the Confederacy had literally nothing to do with UNLV’s imagery aside from the basic concept of rebelling against something.

The school’s nickname, “Rebels,” had nothing whatever to do with the south or the Confederacy. Instead, it was a jab at the University of Nevada from which UNLV was “rebelling” and hoping to separate from in the late 1960s.

UNLV wanted to become fully independent from the University of Nevada, but local politicians were throwing wrenches into the plans. Hence the “Rebels” nickname was adopted. Confederate flag symbols were adopted merely to reflect the idea that they were “rebels,” not in celebration of the south or the doomed Confederacy.

Consequently, the school’s nickname and mascot had nothing to do with the Confederacy.

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