The students and community of Long Beach have officially chosen the Sharks to replace Prospector Pete, the university’s mascot since 1949.
“I am pleased to confirm and ratify the students’ selection of ‘Sharks,’” Conoley said in an email.
“We have benefited from a thoughtful, thorough and inclusive process led by [Associated Students Inc.], and I am grateful to ASI and all campus stakeholders who participated.”
Following a premature announcement posted on Instagram Friday, ASI sent an email en masse detailing that the Sharks had won with 53%, “Go Beach” (no mascot) took second place with 24.68% and the Stingrays came in third with 21.84% of the vote. A total of 10,763 students and community members cast their votes for the mascot.
Although the Sharks have been adopted as the school’s official mascot, Conoley said there will be a yearlong process to develop its visual representation. Its personality, illustrations, wordmarks and traits will all be refined within this time.
“This, again, will be informed by an inclusive process led by a steering committee that … I will appoint in the coming weeks,” Conoley said.
Despite the school’s transition from Prospector Pete to the Sharks, Conoley clarified that the athletics program will remain “Beach Athletics” and will retain the prefix moniker, “Beach.”
“I have been so impressed by the engagement of our students, alumni, supporters, faculty and staff, and community members as options for the future were explored,” Conoley said.
The result was posted on Instagram by ASI President Genesis Jara and Vice President Leen Almahdi Friday.
ASI and campus officials had decided to push the release to Monday following the discovery of graffiti that warned of a mass school shooting to be carried out Thursday. The new mascot was posted in error Friday.
“The plan was to post yesterday, but [with] everything that was happening with the threat, we decided it wasn’t the best idea to draw any attention from that,” James Ahumada, ASI communications director, said Friday.
After the university’s original mascot, Prospector Pete, was official retired by university President Jane Close Conoley Sept. 20, the school began a search involving the community to find a new identity. Pete was ousted following a general consensus that his presence, both as a physical statue and a campus icon, represented violence and genocide of American Indians during the California Gold Rush.
The community voting period began April 15 and was open to anyone in the Long Beach or campus community.
ASI received more than 350 submissions for the new mascot, which were narrowed down to six. The Sharks, Stingrays and “Go Beach” (no mascot) were announced as the three finalists April 30 and would appear on the student ballot May 6 – 8.