After decades of back and forth deliberation on what to do about Prospector Pete, Long Beach State President Jane Close Conoley announced Sept. 21 that the university would finally retire the 51-year-old mascot from his perch between Liberal Arts 4 and 5. The reactions have been strong on both sides of the argument, with many celebrating the removal of a monument that to many, symbolizes genocide, while others believe that focusing on this controversy is a waste of energy. Conoley also added that the statue would be moved to the new alumni center, which is still in a developmental stage. In response to this, the Daily 49er editorial board discussed how the university handled the situation. Much like the university and the community, the staff is pretty divided.
I don’t care about the statue or how the school handled the announcement of its retirement as a mascot. If you’re offended about a statue being moved from its spot next to a brick you spent over a hundred dollars for, you have too much money. If you’re offended about a statue being moved from a spot next to bricks you didn’t even pay for, your investment in this statue’s place seems irrational. It’s just being moved. One in 10 California State University students being homeless should be a bigger priority than a statue.
I don’t understand why the school decided to announce the move of good old Saint Peter this early. The alumni building is still in the developmental phase, so we still have at least three more years of looking at that perfect body outside of Liberal Arts 5. I’m excited to see all the members of the Long Beach State Athletics forum’s hot takes on all of this for years to come. It’s been a fun ride. I’m not sure what will replace that gaping hole, but a basketball hoop would be sweet. Godspeed Sir Pete of Long Beach.
I remember when I was a freshman, I was told to kiss the foot of Prospector Pete before an exam for good luck. But I forgot to do that for every exam I’ve taken. Thus, I don’t have a 4.0. Sadface. But moving Prospector Pete will give me more of a reason not to give a big old wet kiss on Petey’s toenail. This bums me out.
Arts and Life Editor
As a new student on campus I am indifferent to the symbolic meaning that Petey had but I can understand the sentiment that alumni and long-time students may have as well. In terms of how the school handled it, I think they submitted to the majority on whether or not the statue should stay up. If they really wanted to keep it, they should have made a statement explaining the historical meaning behind Pete while also addressing the concerns of the students/activists so that they know their voices are heard.
Editor in Chief
After learning the true history behind Prospector Pete, all of this fanfare around his supposed Gold Rush narrative seems like a waste of energy. Ole Pete was modeled after the campus’ first president, not an actual prospector, and as far as we know, he wasn’t a racist person or modeled after someone who was. So why wouldn’t the school just change his name and put up some sort of plaque explaining who the statue truly represents? It seems silly for them to just nod along with these falsehoods and spend all of this money to move the thing. But I digress, at the end of the day, it’s the students who are paying to be here and if there is any statue on campus that makes anyone uncomfortable, or even remotely represents violence or racism — it’s gotta go.
Assistant Design Editor
I don’t really care about Prospector Pete being moved, but I do care about what the school plans on doing for the new mascot in general. I feel like students should be involved because I don’t want to be called the Long Beach Squirrels. This situation is similar to commencement last year — big decisions were made and students weren’t properly notified or given a chance to voice their opinion. Let’s stay the 49ers and maybe have our mascot be a gold nugget or something, anything else, just not a damn squirrel.
I think the university made the right move by replacing Pete and moving him elsewhere. The campus has been phasing him out for some time, so I have no strong sentiments toward the mascot in the first place and if it makes some communities on campus feel uncomfortable, then the obvious solution is to remove it. The school could have, however, informed students on the history of the mascot and statue and its relation to the first president. It can fix its mistakes by making sure to include student’s voices and opinions while choosing the next face for our campus.
I understand why the university has decided that they are going to move Pete. I mean, he was created over 50 years ago, and times are changing. I think that if a portion of our student population feels that he represents genocide, we should abide by their requests to do something about it. I know that alumni are the majority of people who have an issue with this, but they had to see this coming. However, I wish we could reach a compromise. I would be fine with leaving him where he’s at while changing the mascot and rebranding the campus for the hundredth time. Then, we could put a plaque on him that explains the history of most prospectors and why the school felt compelled to change our mascot.
Assistant Opinions Editor
I personally don’t have a problem with the statue at all whether it’s over here or over there on campus. I respectfully disagree with how the school handled the matter and how big the situation got. I believe that regardless of the location of the statue or its meaning to students, whether they like the statue or not, the issue when it comes to Prospector Pete shouldn’t be our school’s priority. It’s not a big deal, just let it go and let it be. Let’s not forget what American businessman Bert Lance once said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The movement of Prospector Pete from outside the Liberal Arts building to the currently non-existent alumni center is a waste of money, energy and protesting. We have hate groups speaking on campus, money not being spent repairing buildings that need it and not enough space to accommodate commuting students. Rather than spend time caring about the fact that they’re going to move the statue, let’s devote our energy and money to improving the things that actually need improvement. I’m all for appeasing the campus population, but only if what’s being done is worthy of our efforts.