University of Iowa Professor Wants Hawkeyes Mascot To Smile Because It Could Hurt Students’ Feelings

by 4 years ago

Resmiye Oral, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Iowa, has a big problem with her school’s mascot. He doesn’t smile enough. I thought sure this was a story from The Onion. Who would care about how the facial expression on a dumb mascot? Apparently, a professor with too much time on her hands and wants to sterilize every life experience as to not potentially hurt the feelings of anyone ever.

On Tuesday, Oral wrote an email to the Department of Athletics as well as to other members of the UI Faculty Senate to request that the university’s mascot have a wider range of emotions.

Best sit down for this psychobabble about mascots affecting behavior of college students.

“I believe incoming students should be met with welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages. And our campus community is doing a great job in that regard when it comes to words. However, Herky’s angry, to say the least, faces conveying an invitation to aggressivity and even violence are not compatible with the verbal messages that we try to convey to and instill in our students and campus community. I would like to bring to the Faculty Senate’s attention that the attached Herky images are totally against the nonviolent, all accepting, nondiscriminatory messages we are trying to convey through campus. As we strive to tackle depression, suicide, violence, and behavioral challenges and help our students succeed, I plead with you to allow Herky to be like one of us, sometimes sad, sometimes happy, sometimes angry, sometimes concentrated.”


It’s a mascot.

It’s a mascot of a hawk.

Hawks don’t have facial expressions and certainly can not smile. Even if a hawk wanted to smile it can not because they have a beak.

Oral, hawks aren’t exactly sweetiepies in real life. They savagely kill their prey out of fucking nowhere. With much anger I’d imagine.

Oral would not go down without a fight. In a phone interview Tuesday, Oral said she has been concerned for some time with the lack of emotional variety displayed in the images of the university’s long-standing mascot.

Oral is gonna blow it for the rest of us who love Herky!

Thankfully there was some sense of reason. “At this time, the committee is not focused specifically on how Herky is depicted,” said Thomas Vaughn, an associate professor of public health and president of the UI Faculty Senate.

“McDonald’s doesn’t change the angle on its golden arches just because it puts out a new product,” said Dale Arens, director of UI’s trademark licensing program.

The beloved Herky was first drawn as a cartoon in 1948 by Richard Spencer, an instructor of journalism at UI. Herky the Hawk first appeared at a Hawkeyes football game in 1959.

You know what? That’s pretty fucked up. Come on Oral, you are making assumptions based on physical appearance alone. That’s pretty prejudiced. Why don’t you stop making predetermined judgments based on how Herky looks on the outside and find out how Herky really feels on the inside?

Does Oral not realize that Herky the Hawk is most seen at Hawkeyes football games? I imagine that Oral has never gone to a football game, so I’ll get her up to speed. A football game is where 22 brawny men try to rip each other’s head off as they blitz the shotgun formation on the gridiron. It’s pretty much legalized violence. Not exactly all smiles and birthday cake. This is exactly the type of hypersensitive coddling that the University of Chicago is fighting against.

To me, Herky the Hawk doesn’t even look angry.

How many angry hawks have you seen dance this jubilantly?

How many angry hawks wear Hawaiian shirts and go to the beach after being lei’d?

Oral, does this really look like an angry hawk to you?

Oral, things could suck a lot more, you could teach at Evergreen State. Their mascot is Speedy the Geoduck, who looks like a green turd in a cannoli shell. But at least he’s smiling as much as a geoduck could.

There’s plenty of reasons to shit on mascots. For one, they generally add nothing to your sporting event experience. For another, you can get anyone to fire off the t-shirt bazooka into the crowd. But to criticize mascots because they aren’t smiling to your satisfaction is not one of them.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Oral, but I think she sunk her teeth into this one too quick or just wasn’t using her head.


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TAGSHawkeyesHerky the HawkPolitical CorrectnessResmiye OralUIuniversity of iowa