Campus, News

Prospector Pete statue removed from the center of campus

Long Beach State removed the statue of its retired mascot, Prospector Pete, from the Liberal Arts 5 plaza, President Jane Close Conoley announced Friday. 

Conoley said in an email that there were plans to relocate the statue to a courtyard that will be part of the new alumni center in honor of its significance as a CSULB landmark, but decided to relocate the statue early.  

The Spirit of ‘49 statue, informally referred to as Prospector Pete, was removed from its perch in the LA5 plaza June 2020. Though popular with alumni since its initial installation in 1967, the statue for many represents racism and violence against Native Americans. Barbara Kingsley-Wilson/ Daily Forty-Niner.

“In light of the renewed national conversation about anti-racism, we have chosen to begin the relocation process early and have removed the statue from the center of campus,” Conoley said. “We will develop additional opportunities on campus to more fully examine the past as well as honor our Indigenous peoples.”

According to Professor Emeritus Craig Stone, director of the Indian Program, student design teams are in the process of creating a new piece for the LA5 plaza “that reflects our campus’ aspirations for inclusion, diversity and excellence.” 

“It will be a place of celebration and reflection and a call for continued work for justice,” Stone said. 

The student body voted to choose a new mascot last spring and selected the shark to take Pete’s place. The university’s new mascot will be making its debut fall 2020.

Pete’s place on campus has been a long contested one. Alumni have called for his continued residency on campus while others have pointed out the character’s representation of racial violence.

According to Conoley, the Spirit of ‘49 statue, informally referred to as Prospector Pete, bears a connection to an important yet painful time in California history.

The Anna W. Ngai alumni center, slated to begin construction November 2020, will become the new home of the Spirit of ’49 statue. President Jane Close Conoley said on June 26 that the relocation will come with educational resources to recognize the university’s history. Barbara Kingsley-Wilson/ Daily Forty-Niner.

“When installed in a courtyard at the new alumni center, we look forward to providing contextual information about the founding and history of our great university,” Conoley said.

6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Should he stay or should he go? A campus divided over Prospector Pete - Daily Forty-Niner

  2. Avatar

    Actually, removing something from history that some people find painful to look at is exercising freedom. And you’re not removing the history – unfortunately, the history is still there. You’re just making it less painful for those people who’ve been hurt by it.

  3. Avatar

    What next? Burning books?

  4. Avatar

    Ethics should be a required course

  5. Avatar

    Hysteria has prevailed.

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    Steven McClintock

    Such a messed up thing. Every time you remove something from history, you lose a little bit of your freedom. And those who don’t see that, deserve to lose it.

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