Electing a new mascot to represent the University of Mississippi brought up feelings from some student body members about reinstating Colonel Reb, the mascot that represented the Rebels as the sideline mascot from 1979 to 2003.
Colonel Reb was later replaced with Rebel Black Bear, which will be replaced with the Landshark in the 2018 season.
Although the Landshark is generally favored over Rebel Black Bear, some students feel Colonel Reb should have been represented on the ballot for the new mascot election because students still prefer him, despite the fact that he has not served as the sideline mascot in 14 years.
“I think that he should be on the ballot because of the traditions that Ole Miss has with Colonel Reb,” said Joseph Bongiovanni, an Ole Miss sophomore from Metairie, Louisiana. “He goes hand in hand with the Ole Miss Rebels, but at the same time, I understand that he brings up a lot of bad impressions because of the historical context that is behind him.
“However, I think that [Colonel Reb] is really the only mascot that the majority of the student body and the school community that could represent them. I think we should not just erase history because some people do not like it.”
Some students feel the low voter turn out that resulted in the election of the Landshark as the new sideline mascot for the Ole Miss Rebels is connected to Colonel Reb being on the ballot. If he had been on the ballot, some students believe the voter turnout and election would have been different.
“I do not [feel the student body was accurately represented by the voter turnout for the mascot election] because I think that if Colonel Reb were on there then most people would vote for Colonel Reb,” said Elizabeth Statham, an Ole Miss sophomore from Birmingham, Alabama. “I feel that people are not offended by Colonel Reb.”
Despite this, not everyone particularly cared about these issues, or the election itself for that matter. Ali Mae Walsh, an Ole Miss sophomore from Scaly Mountain, North Carolina, said she did not vote in this election, and still would not have voted if Colonel Reb was on the ballot.
All in all, the Rebel family is preparing to welcome the Landshark as the official sideline mascot of the Ole Miss Rebels beginning in 2018.