SDSU student government votes to keep Aztec warrior - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

SDSU student government votes to keep Aztec warrior

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) — The student government at San Diego State University on Wednesday failed to approve a resolution that would phase out the Aztec mascot and name.

While alternatives were suggested, after Wednesday night's vote, no alternatives are needed. 

While some students on campus called the Aztec mascot a symbol of strength and unity, other students called it racist. 

Students said the mascot is a "racialized stereotype of Native Americans." 

Just last week the Student Diversity Commission voted on the Aztec mascot resolution put forward by the Native American Student Alliance, and that vote passed to consider changing the Aztec moniker and mascot at San Diego State. 

The Aztec warrior has wowed San Diego State fans for decades. 

Shown shirtless with his small skirt, shield, sandals and feather headdress, images of this Aztec have been at the center of cultural appropriation controversy for years. 

"The administration has done nothing, this has been going on since the '70s," Marissa Mendoza, president of SDSU's Native American Student Alliance.  

The alliance says the mascot is racist and perpetuates stereotypes, so the group brought forth the "resolution to retire the San Diego State university mascot and moniker." 

"I bleed black and red. I am an Aztec for life, and you'll never be an Aztec, no one here will ever be an Aztec unless you are really a native person or of descent," said Mendoza. 

A "Save the Aztec" petition has garnered more than 600 signatures.  

"It's been here since 1880 whatever, and just now it's becoming a problem?" said SDSU freshman Gabe Torre.  

"I don't think that it should be voted through, that it should be changed," said SDSU freshman Nicole Rival. 

Students for removing Aztecs rallied on campus with signs shouting "not my mascot." 

"Aztec - that is just a culture, that's a people," said Torre. "It's not like we are being offensive in any way to it. We take pride in being Aztecs and I don't think that we should be stripped of that." 

"That's people, you know, that's a group of people, and we are those people," said Mendoza. 

This debate was addressed back in 2001 and 2003 when the university revised the logo and mascot, and once again in 2006 and 2014. 

SDSU says guidelines have been set to represent the Aztec appropriately moving forward.  

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