Campus, Long Beach, News

CSULB unveils new shark mascot “Elbee”

After identifying with Prospector Pete since 1949, Long Beach State introduced its new mascot via social media Monday, a shark named “Elbee,” causing some uproar in the campus community.  

Students voted over a year ago to replace the old mascot and landed on the shark as a representation of CSULB’s well-known shark lab in a 53% majority. “Elbee,” which is a phonetic reference to Long Beach’s initials, has a jersey number of 49 and identifies as non-binary, using they/them/theirs pronouns. 

“From the start, there was interest in having Elbee representative of both men’s and women’s teams and all members of the Beach community, so Elbee does indeed transcend gender,” said Jeff Cook, associate vice president of strategic communications. 

Members of the Beach community have expressed mixed feelings about the rebranding, taking to social media to voice their concerns over the new identity. Prospector Pete had been the school’s mascot since it opened in 1949, and many students and alumni still identify with the “49er” nickname and history. 

Recent graduate and former international student who majored in film and electronic arts, May Nyback, took to Instagram to voice her thoughts on the new mascot. 

“I think the decision to pronoun the shark as they/them was extremely progressive and promising for our college and community,” Nyback said. “It highlights everyone and set forth a world where everyone is accepted for who they are — even sharks.” 

Another alumna, Lioda Aghajani, has conflicting feelings toward the pronoun decision.

“I myself am part of the LBGTQ+ community and appreciate the proper use of pronouns, using it for a shark is a bit excessive but I get that the people who came up with it were probably just trying to be inclusive,” Aghajani said, who graduated in 2018 majoring in communication studies.

Others expressed their disappointment in the school’s decision to continue distancing itself from the retired mascot.

Former Daily Forty-Niner sports editor in 1984, Elliot Teaford, did not take well to the announcement of Elbee’s debut.

“Thanks for the chuckle, but I’ll be a 49er first, last and always,” Teaford said on Twitter.

The Daily Forty-Niner conducted polls on social media with results showing overwhelming support for the new mascot, averaging more than 70% of the votes.

In a long process of finding an identity for the Beach, several mascot ideas were eventually narrowed down to three semifinalists: a shark, stingray and the option to have no mascot at all. President Jane Close Conoley approved of the shark mascot in May 2019 and appointed a representative committee to begin development during the 2019-20 academic year. 

According to Cook, the mascot’s name came from a collective effort by the Mascot Development Committee

Long Beach State’s new mascot, Elbee the shark, made their debut on Aug. 17, 2020. Credit: Cal State Long Beach

Despite Elbee’s debut, CSULB students will not be known as “the sharks,” and the campus will maintain its identity as the Beach. The shark is the singular campus mascot, not the campus identity as a whole.

Using the term “49er” to refer to students is still considered to be applicable, according to the campus communications department, as it is in reference to the school’s first president, P. Victor Peterson, proclaiming that the opening of the university meant they had “struck educational gold.”

The shark’s debut was postponed from last spring as CSULB focused its efforts on adapting to virtual instruction in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

As part of the school’s rebranding efforts, CSULB removed the statue of Prospector Pete from the Liberal Arts 5 plaza, where it had been since its erection in 1967. 

“Long Beach State is a place where diversity is welcomed and valued,” Conoley said. “Why go with binaries when the ocean is a very big place? We strive to think just as big.” 

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    I’m so thankful that Long Beach State has corrected this egregious error.

    Having a grizzled old prospector who represented the oppressive forces of yore never sat well with me. I doubt if he was a racist or someone who marginalized the LGBTQ community since he was probably always too inebriated and his stamina minimal after spending hours every day under the scorching sun, bent over as he panned for gold.

    Elbee not having a gender is unique. The Blob in France has 720. I think having binary, tertiary or whatever 720 is would have been a better choice. On the other hand just saying this is a mistake and wanting the prospector back is wish full thinking since Elbee probably tore his limbs off as he floundered off Belmont Shore, bleeding out. This shark may not have any gender because that is so prevalent in nature, but the message that “win at all costs, kill, maim and destroy your opponent” as you rip the flesh from their bodies is a vast improvement over the former mascot and his message to: drink, prospect(search for gold: i.e. truth, wisdom, knowledge) and survive. Being a Shark seems to validate Gordon Gekko’s “Greed is Good”.

    Well done CSULB: Politically correct but tone deaf and myopic to the laws of nature.

    MO
    M.P.A. 1982
    PS Is it too late to suggest Long Beach State become the “Fighting Grains of Sand”: THE BEACH. It has no gender or race, and doesn’t require daily sacrificial feedings.

  2. Avatar

    I’m so thankful that Long Beach State has corrected this egregious error.

    Having a grizzled old prospector who represented the oppressive forces or yore never sat well with me. I doubt if he was a racist or someone who marginalized the LGBTQ community….he was probably always too inebriated and his stamina from was minimal after spending hours every day under the sun, bent over as he panned for gold.

    Elbee not having a gender is unique. The Blob in France has 720. I think having binary, tertiary or whatever 720 is would have been a better choice. On the other hand just saying this is a mistake and wanting the prospector back is wish full thinking since Elbee probably tore his limbs off as he floundered off Belmont Shore, bleeding out. This shark may not have any gender because that is so prevalent in nature, but the message that “win at all costs, kill, maim and destroy your opponent” as you rip the flesh from their bodies is a vast improvement over the former mascot and his message to: drink, prospect(search for gold: i.e. truth, wisdom, knowledge) and survive. Being a Shark seems to validate Gordon Gekko’s “Greed is Good”.

    Well done CSULB: Politically correct but tone deaf and myopic to laws of nature.

    MO

  3. Avatar
    Al Campuzzano

    I’m an engineering graduate from 1976
    I’m and I will always be a 49’er

  4. Pingback: ASI’s #LBSUsharkChallenge gives students chance to win bookstore gift card - Daily Forty-Niner

  5. Avatar

    And then one day for no reason at all…

  6. Pingback: Cal State Long Beach’s new mascot: a non-binary shark who uses plural pronouns | The College Fix

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Daily 49er newsletter