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Harry Reid calls on UNLV to consider changing ‘rebel’ mascot


Las Vegas Sun

UNLV mascot Hey Reb signals a three-point shot against UNI during their game Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, at the Thomas & Mack. UNLV won 73-59 to push their record to 10-1.

Updated Tuesday, June 23, 2015 | 4:06 p.m.

Harry Reid

Harry Reid

CARSON CITY — Sen. Harry Reid says Nevada higher education officials should look at changing the Confederate-themed mascot at UNLV.

Reid told reporters in Washington D.C. on Tuesday that Nevada's Board of Regents should take a look at changing UNLV's current mascot and sports team name from the so-called "Running Rebels."

"I believe that the Board of Regents should take that up and take a look at it," Reid said.

Confederate flags and symbols have come under heavy scrutiny this week in the wake of a massacre in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Dylann Storm Roof, who faces murder charges in the church attack, had posed in photos displaying Confederate flags and burning or desecrating U.S. flags.

The university has used the "rebel" mascot since 1969, which was originally a wolf wearing a Confederate Army cap and uniform as the school mascot. Designed partially as a jab at the northern University of Nevada, Reno, it changed over to the current human mascot in 1983.

UNLV spokesman Tony Allen said that students led the charge in the 1970s to drop the Confederate-themed mascot, and that the current logo is based on western trailblazers in the 1800's.

"It was intended to be reflective of western independence and spirit and has become one of the most beloved mascots in college athletics," he said in a statement.

Any mascot change would likely need to originate from UNLV before being reviewed by the regents.

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