UNLV president Keith Whitfield announced in a letter to the campus community this week that the school’s Hey Reb! mascot will officially be retired.
"For all intents and purposes, the Hey Reb! mascot has been retired since last spring and there are no plans to bring it back. We also have no current plans to create a new mascot," Whitfield wrote, according to reporting from the Las Vegas ABC affiliate.
The Hey Reb! statue was removed from the UNLV campus back in June. At the time, president Marta Meana said the statue was removed after conversations with the donor.
Whitfield said UNLV will no longer have a mascot.
“UNLV will join the likes of the universities of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Central Michigan that have no mascot — as well as the NFL's Green Bay Packers, New York Giants and New York Jets,” he wrote. “The university also didn’t have a mascot in the mid-1970s. As UNLV continues to rise as a top public research university, we must do so in a way that represents all of our students, staff, faculty, alumni, and supporters.”
Hey Reb! was reportedly inspired by the Western Trailblazers of the 1800s, but some have argued in recent years that has connections to the Confederacy.
Whitfield said the decision to do away with the school’s nickname and mascot came as a result of feedback from faculty, staff, students and community members. Whitfield, however, said he didn’t personally have a problem with the mascot.
“Personally, I have always viewed the term ‘Rebels’ as a strong, nationally recognized brand synonymous with UNLV,” Whitfield wrote. “I believe the word ‘rebel’ represents an attitude or spirit. It captures the essence of an iconic city that is unconventional and celebrates its independence, tenacity, and resiliency. Rebels have a purpose or motivation for a greater cause and are not afraid to take risks to make incredible things happen.”