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IVC selects new mascot: Desert Warriors

-Editorial

After two years of proactive community outreach and years of campus and community discussion, Imperial Valley College has a new mascot.

IVC will now be known as the “Desert Warriors”.

The IVC Board of Trustees unanimously approved a campus recommendation on June 21 that implements the new name. The action came after a presentation by members of the IVC Mascot Identity Task Force.

Elizabeth Espinoza, communications and government relations officer; Yareli Rivera, director of student development & activities; Jose Carrillo, associate dean of institutional effectiveness, equity & student success, and Josh Figueroa, 2023 – 2024 associated student government president, outlined for the board the mascot development process that began in earnest March 2021 when the board approved a task force recommendation to retire the former mascot name: Arabs.

The board resolution notes “the District has undertaken a comprehensive process of reviewing and revising the current mascot design and name to better reflect the values of the District.” It adds the action comes after extensive feedback from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members.

Community outreach included the California Mid-Winter Fair, social media campaigns, press releases, email communications, and other channels of engagement that included two surveys.

The Desert Warriors name was developed “after careful consideration of the feedback received and the desire to choose a name that represents the strength, resilience, and unity of the District,” the resolution states.

Next steps will be to establish a process for the design and development of the visual representation of the “Desert Warriors” mascot, “ensuring it aligns with the District’s values of inclusivity and respect for cultural sensitivity.”

During the board meeting presentation, the task force representatives discussed the two campus/community surveys that were conducted.

They told the trustees the results of the first survey were discarded because of apparent confusion among respondents. Artistic renderings were included in that survey and it was apparent that those renderings influenced the choices more than mascot name identities.

A second survey was then run that excluded drawings and focused just on proposed mascot names: “Desert Warriors”, “Foxes” and “Suns”.

There were 3,003 responses to that survey, administered to current students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community. Nearly 48 percent agreed “Desert Warriors” should be the mascot name. “Suns” netted about 30 percent and “Foxes”, 23 percent.

The naming of the new mascot brings to a close year of campus and community discussion regarding the former name that had been used by IVC since the 1950s.

The Mascot Identity Taskforce was originally formed by the Associated Students Government to seek community input regarding retention of the former Arabs mascot name.

In approving that the former mascot name be retired, the 2021 board resolution noted that  “students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members support the removal of Arab as the mascot for the Imperial Community College District and creation of a new mascot which is representative of the inclusive and safe environment” for the campus community.

Along with Rivera, Espinoza, Carrillo and Figueroa, other Mascot Task Force members since inception included Associated Student Government Body presidents Moises Hernandez, Jorge Silva, Javier Melara and Itzel Landeros; Ethan Noriega, associated students government senator; Jim Mecate, athletic director, faculty; Enrique Lechuga, associate dean, athletics, exercise science, and health education; Ric Epps, Academic Senate president; Superintendent/President Lennor Johnson, then serving as vice president of student services; James Dalske, dean of student affairs and enrollment management; Jessica Prock, classified employees representative; Mike Nicholas, publications design coordinator; Matt Redden, athletics alumni; Associate Dean Workforce Development, Non-Traditional Instruction Victor Torres, then serving as dean of student affairs and enrollment management, and Melody Chronister, then serving as College Council president.

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