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Cal State Long Beach Retires 'Prospector Pete'

September 24, 2018
 
 

California State University, Long Beach, is retiring its controversial Prospector Pete mascot, which critics say represents the genocide of indigenous people during the Gold Rush.

The statue of Prospector Pete in the campus quad will be moved to the new alumni center next year, the institution said.

A committee devoted to studying relocating the issue recommended moving the statue.

“Inclusive excellence is a core value of the Long Beach State University community,” President Jane Close Conoley said in a statement. “I’m pleased to accept the recommendations of the committee and am grateful for the many hours that committee members spent listening to the many individuals who have a stake not only in the issue at hand, but also in the life and history of our campus.”

The institution’s Associated Students Inc. passed a resolution in March trying to relocate the statue -- which was erected in 1967 and is formally known as the Forty-Niner Man -- and asked that the university disassociate from Prospector Pete. The name is a reference to the original institution’s founding year, 1949, and athletics programs have been known as the '49ers. In recent years, the athletics department has moved away from that nickname in favor of “the Beach.”

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