By Sergio Medina
The College Council voted unanimously July 14 in favor of removing the college mascot, the Ranger Gnome, from this college.
“San Antonio College will immediately stop using the name, symbol and image of the Ranger mascot, and begin a collegewide search of a new mascot,” President Robert Vela said at the conclusion of the Zoom meeting.
The Ranger previously published a piece on the dark history of the Texas Rangers.
While concerns had been raised throughout the Ranger mascot’s history, the decision concludes a two-year period of constant advocating for the removal of the mascot by Somos la Gente, the student and faculty group from the Mexican-American studies program.
No details were given on how the new mascot will be sought, but feedback from students such as Naty Roman, Mexican-American studies sophomore and member of Somos la Gente, said the process of selecting a new mascot should be constantly audited by students and employees of this college to select a mascot in accordance with inclusive values.
“We will continue to hold you accountable,” she said to the council.
The feedback obtained through survey, which took place June 24-July 8, gathered responses from 535 students, employees and community members.
Fifty-nine percent voted in favor of removing the Ranger, with the remaining 41 percent voting against.
Community colleges are a key gateway to Latinx students, said John Gonzalez, Mexican-American studies director at the University of Texas at Austin.
Turning the page on the current mascot will signal to current and future students that this college cares for them, he said.
Dr. Lisa Ramos, Mexican-American program coordinator said, “When the 200-year history is riddled with violent acts, there’s no way to recognize this organization.”
The Texas Rangers were founded in 1835.
Of the 55 written statements against the removal the mascot provided via feedback, Dr. Francisco Solis, dean of performance excellence, said, “Not one of those arguments refuted, denied, questioned or even explained the atrocities cited by the opposing argument.”
In contrast, 97 written statements were written in favor of removal.
Barbara Knotts, director of creative multimedia services and the Black History Month Committee, said, “I do want it to be put on the record that the Black History Committee would like to support this initiative to see that all symbols and images of the Ranger are removed.”
Vela said, “This is a historic day. The debate is over, and SAC has gone on the record as being inclusive, diverse, empowered, decisive, true to its values and committed to doing the right thing.”
Roman said Somos la Gente is overwhelmed with gratitude for the support shown by students, faculty and staff of this college.
“I am beyond proud of being a part of SAC in this moment. I am full of emotion and pride that this lucha (fight) Somos la Gente took on two years ago has finally resulted in a decision to remove the racist Ranger mascot once and for all.
“Somos la Gente is SAC Proud!”