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A University of Iowa Professor Wants Mascot To Smile More And Not Be So Aggressive

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Herky The Hawk

A University of Iowa professor is asking the school’s athletic department to alter the facial expressions of school mascot Herky the Hawk, who he believes appears too aggressive in university publications.

Resmiye Oral, a clinical professor of pediatrics, explained his position in an email to school officials.

From the Iowa City Press-Citizen:

“I believe incoming students should be met with welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages,” Resmiye Oral, a clinical professor of pediatrics at UI, wrote recently in an email to UI athletic department officials. “And our campus community is doing a great job in that regard when it comes to words. However, Herky’s angry, to say the least, faces conveying an invitation to aggressivity and even violence are not compatible with the verbal messages that we try to convey to and instill in our students and campus community.”

“As we strive to tackle depression, suicide, violence, and behavioral challenges and help our students succeed, I plead with you to allow Herky to be like one of us, sometimes sad, sometimes happy, sometimes angry, sometimes concentrated,” she wrote.

Oral, who, ironically, is a huge boner, said she has been concerned for some time about the lack of emotional variety displayed by the cartoon hawk.

I get it: it’s 2016. Everything is offensive and should be challenged with protests and boycotts. I’ll be honest, though, I didn’t see “getting offended by cartoon birds” coming for at least another 10 years.

You know what offends me about Herky the Hawk? That he is a man — a white (and yellow and black), powerful bird-man with privilege. The one-percent of powerful bird mascots in college and pro sports hold almost all the notoriety and power over the 99 percent of bird mascots at high schools and middle schools.

I prefer my mascots be gender neutral and timid, to better reflect the student body and professors so no one feels excluded. We need a world with common sense. We need a world that’s not afraid to tell it how it is. We need a world of Ed Underbergs.

Fans, not surprisingly, had mixed reactions to the change.

“The old Herky looks like he might strike fear into you; the new Herky looks like a stuffed animal, like something on a kid’s bed,” Ed Underberg, a UI alum and lifelong Hawkeye fan from Newton, told the Press-Citizen at the time.

If this is what 2016 is going to be all about, I am terrified for 2017.

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[via Iowa City Press-Citizen]

Image via YouTube

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