As the “Freaky Friday” phenomenon hit the UC Riverside community over the weekend, it came with it the swapping of our beloved Scotty the Bear mascot with that of a grizzly bear. While the change was initially humorous, ditching the cute, loveable mascot for an actual grizzly bear is absolutely absurd.

In the long-run, this mascot would be unable to be taken seriously and could possibly scare away a majority of the students who possess immense amounts of school spirit. UCR already displays dismal levels of spirit due to the university’s lack of a real life Quidditch team. Having a grizzly bear as a mascot would reduce levels of spirit even more, considering that spirit is a primary driver of grizzly bear attacks. Many students at UCR already shy away from attending sports events and functions, so the change in mascot will eliminate their desire to attend in the first place. They may even choose to take cover from the bear in the library, which will impact the Rivera and Orbach Libraries in ways worse than those experienced during finals week.  

A majority of students at UCR are already satisfied with our current mascot, demonstrating the lack necessity to change our campus in this aspect. Scotty already can stand head-to-head with rival mascots such as the UCLA Bruins and the Cal Bears. Scotty is equally as fierce and competitive as these two UC schools. Even if UCR were to change its mascot, how would changing a bear to another bear really impact how students and others perceive UCR?

While our new chancellor Arnold Schwarzenegger welcomes the change in mascot, he does so quoting that it would help to “Make UCR Great Again.” Why would we want to take advice from a former governor that cites quotes similar to that of the new Pope Donald Trump? Unless we want to turn our campus of tolerance to one that is severely lacking of respect toward everyone on or around campus, we should not heed advice from Schwarzenegger. This move would conflict with our everlasting motto of retaining Tartan Soul around campus. We would be left without the integrity, accountability, excellence and respect that we all strive for. If change is to be made around campus, it should entail plans to actually benefit students on campus, rather than a simple not-well-thought-out suggestion such as this.

Lastly, Scotty is a main staple of our campus. Over our four years at UCR, we all have learned to love our campus, and most importantly, Scotty the Bear. He can be found anywhere around campus that requires a boost in spirit, as well as sports games to entertain and induce spirit amongst audience members. Scotty has been the most reliable of mascots and removing him would only cause Highlander pride to plummet, which has been increasing drastically in recent years.

Permanently switching our mascot to one that is just a “scarier” version of Scotty does not contribute to the betterment of the campus. Time should be spent seeking the original Scotty to bring him back and restore him as our mascot.