College reviews pioneer mascot because of 'inclusivity' concerns

Marietta College is conducting a review of its pioneer mascot and logo because of concerns surrounding a "lack of inclusivity."

The review, which comes amid a nationwide trend of colleges ditching their mascots, will take 12 months.

Marietta College, a private college in Marietta, Ohio, is considering whether to change its mascot, Putnam the Pio, and its accompanying logo, a pioneer, because of concerns of the "lack of inclusivity."

Putnam the Pio, a pioneer, became Marietta College’s official mascot in 2014, according to the school's website. General Rufus Putnam was the founder of the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, and Putman was a soldier in the American Revolutionary War.

However, according to an email sent to the campus community by Marietta College President Bill Ruud, a 12-month review of the mascot and logo are now underway "in light of recent events around our country."

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"In light of recent events around our country and feedback from alumni and other friends of the College, Marietta College will undergo a thorough review of its Pioneer Mascot. This 12-month process makes official the preliminary discussions our leadership team and I have been having with interested alumni constituents throughout this past summer and fall, as well as with the Board of Trustees and Marietta College Alumni Association," Ruud said.

According to the email, members of the campus community will be able to give their input through focus groups, surveys, and Zoom.

Marietta College Vice President of Communication and Brand Management Tom Perry told Campus Reform that the college completed a brand identity review last year, and through this process, there was a concern of a "lack of inclusivity" in the mascot and logo.

"About a year ago, the college completed a brand identity review — we revamped our brand identity in 2016. Through the review process we learned a lot of positive things about what we were doing. However, one concern that was raised involved the lack of inclusivity regarding the logo and mascot. Therefore, we started to have some conversation with key partners about what we could do, and we decided a review of the logo and mascot needed to happen," Perry said.

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Perry did clarify that the college has no plans to change its nickname from the pioneers, however. He said that the college wanted to start the mascot review process sooner, but the coronavirus pandemic put a pause on that.

Follow the author of this article: Ethan Khaldarov