Las Vegas Sun

October 15, 2019

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UNLV student newspaper no longer named The Rebel Yell

The Rebel Yell

Las Vegas Sun

This 2013 file photo shows an issue of The Rebel Yell, UNLV’s student newspaper.

UNLV's student newspaper has a new name: the Scarlet & Gray Free Press.

The newspaper's editor, Bianca Cseke, announced the new name in a post on Monday. The newspaper was previously known as The Rebel Yell.

It was a tongue-in-cheek reference to a Confederate battlecry, used by early UNLV students who made a sport of co-opting Confederate imagery as a metaphor for their desire to break away from the University of Nevada, Reno. But the name, along with the school mascot Hey Reb! and the Rebels nickname, has come under fire recently from some students and faculty who argue they are racist symbols of the Confederacy and slavery.

The change comes after months of deliberations and efforts by the newspaper staff to gauge student opinion on the issue. Although criticisms of the school mascot and nickname have surfaced occasionally over the years, the debate intensified last November when a handful of student protesters called on UNLV President Len Jessup to effectively rebrand the university.

A formal review of the imagery was conducted by the university Vice Provost Rainier Spencer, in which he concluded that neither Hey Reb!, who was accused of looking like a Confederate soldier, or the Rebels nickname were racist.

Still, the staff of the student newspaper moved forward with the name change in April on the grounds that the current title was offensive. The staff and the university were reportedly under pressure from the NAACP to change the name.

In the meantime, the newspaper faces a more existential problem in the form of a drastic cut in university funding.

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