As of Saturday, more than 2,000 people had signed an online petition to keep the South Eugene High School mascot, the Axemen.
The online petition was started Thursday by South Eugene High School alumnus Sue Jaye McVicker, class of 1979, in reaction to an email South Eugene Principal Andy Dey sent to parents on December 26th titled “SEHS Axemen Conversations.” In the email, Dey informed parents he received an initial petition signed by “hundreds” of students, parents, coaches, teachers, and members of the community who asked for the mascot name to be changed to something that is “non-gender specific and that better represents the entire student body.”
The school has been the home of the Axemen for almost 90 years. McVicker’s change.org petition speaks of “Axemen pride” and also raises the issue of the costs associated with such a name change.
Principal Dey says he sees the need to start a conversation about the mascot and acknowledged there are strong feelings on both sides of the subject. He says “a conversation such as this is a sign of our school’s strength, is in keeping with South’s ethos” and makes him feel very optimistic about the future of the school.
Dey has been asked to develop a fiscal impact statement of any proposed re-naming and indicates the school will be engaging in a process to determine how to best move forward with regards to the school’s team name. He hopes to make a recommendation to the 4J School Superintendent by the end of January.