UPDATE: Friday morning, the online petition was taken down, which was calling for the South Eugene High School mascot to be changed. The petition had gained more than 200 signatures by Thursday. The high school's principal said in an email to parents and staff that he planned to make a recommendation on the debate by the end of January.
EUGENE, Ore. – A petition to change the Axemen mascot at South Eugene High School has surfaced online. The petition had more than 200 signatures as of Thursday morning.
According to petitioners, the Axemen mascot was adopted in 1953 and supporters of the petition claim the Axemen is discriminatory against women.
The woman who started the petition, Constance Van Flandern said she's proud of Eugene for taking this petition so seriously. She said that discrimination isn't up for debate, and everyone deseves to be represented equally.
Many Eugene residents are rallying around the idea.
"I think the idea of gender neutrality, of inclusiveness is overdue.. particularly in a town like eugene," said Michael Rooke-Lay, who had three children attend South Eugene High School.
Though many people support the change, there were a lot of people who felt it was unecessary and would hurt tradition.
"If I'm out and about or I'm in another town and I see the girls in the purple and I see Axemen I'm like oh, that's us! That's who we are.. you know? But what are we gonna say when we see another name? It's like I cant relate to it cant connect to it cause you weren't there.. that's not who you were," said Melody Morgan, an alumni of South Eugene High School.
The principal addressed the conversation by saying that having this conversation is a demonstration of the school's strength, though it's unclear yet if the name will be changed or not.