San Antonio College Removes Ranger Mascot | Texas Public Radio

San Antonio College Removes Ranger Mascot

Jul 15, 2020

San Antonio College’s mascot is no longer the Ranger. SAC’s College Council — made up of mostly faculty, staff and administrators — voted unanimously Tuesday to stop using the Ranger mascot name, image and logo at the community college, effective immediately.

The vote comes after more than a year of student advocacy led by Mexican-American Studies students disturbed by the mascot’s connection to the Texas Rangers.

The Texas Rangers started out as a vigilante group that killed Mexicans and Native Americans in the early 1900s.

“With everything going on with the Black Lives Matter movement, the killing of George Floyd, the takedown of white supremacist symbols across the nation, I think (the College Council) really saw the need to move forward quickly because they did not want to stand on the wrong side of history,” said Diana Flores, the founder of student group Somos la Gente, which led the charge to replace the mascot.

San Antonio College students have been known as the Rangers since the 1920s. In recent years the college used different versions of the mascot in an attempt to soften its image, first using the Gnome Ranger, and switching to a Zorro-like Masked Ranger last fall.

Somos la Gente, however, thought any use of the ranger was inappropriate because it connected their college to a group with racist and violent origins.

Flores and current Somos la Gente President Nati Román spoke to the College Council Tuesday during the video meeting alongside history professors from the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Texas at Austin.

“It was really, really powerful and really refreshing to be validated in that way, because we've been fighting for this for a good two years,” said Román, adding that she’s excited to see what her classmates choose for a new mascot.

“I think the students are going to have fun with it,” Román said. “Ideally I would like it to be something that’s tied to this area. Obviously not a human. An animal or something like that tied to this area.”

She and Flores think a Monarch butterfly or the gecko could both be good choices.

San Antonio College was originally slated to have discussions about the mascot during the spring, but they were canceled when the coronavirus outbreak hit.

Flores and Román reached out to SAC President Robert Vela last month to see if they could make something happen. They arranged a virtual meeting with Vela and more than a dozen faculty, students and staff.

“Their membership was larger than what I was used to,” Vela said. “I felt like it was a strong enough, diverse enough, large enough representation of the college that it would merit at least a discussion and a potential vote by the College Council.”

The College Council is made up of more than 60 administrators, professors and staff members, as well as the student body president. Vela said the faculty senate and staff senate both approached him with votes in favor of a replacing the Ranger prior to the council meeting.

“To have every member of the College Council — 60 plus professionals and leaders — all unanimously support this says a lot about where their educator heart is. It speaks to me about how passionate they are about the students,” Vela said.

Vela said removing the Ranger is the first step of SAC’s “intentional work to remove any form of systemic racism that may exist at our college.”

“This is just step one of a journey that we’re going to look at every aspect of our policies, procedures, actions. Anything related to our college to insure that we have actively and courageously addressed any systemic racism that may exist from the past,” Vela said.

Vela expects to form a committee in September to start the process of selecting a new mascot, with a goal of putting choices up for a vote by the full college community before the end of the semester.

Camille Phillips can be reached at Camille@tpr.org or on Twitter at @cmpcamille.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.