Despite calls for the University of Denver to reinstate a mascot that’s reminiscent of Daniel Boone, the school has announced he won’t return.
“Boone was a polarizing figure that did not reflect the growing diversity of the UD community, but rather was an image that many women, persons of color, international students and faculty members found difficult to relate to as defining the pioneering spirit,” Chancellor Robert Coombe said in a March letter to the school community, according to Fox News.
Boone was initially retired in 1998 and had been replaced by a red-tailed hawk named Ruckus, but the mascot was scrapped in 2007, leaving the school without one.
The Denver Post reports that DU put its resources on the job and designed three possible new mascots — an elk, a jackalope and a mountaineer. The school had 45 focus groups, 15 open forums and a 75-person mascot steering committee that surveyed more than 8,000 members of the DU community.
They reportedly couldn’t come to an agreement and decided that there would be no mascot at all.
"Nearly 70 percent of respondents were either receptive or neutral to moving forward with a new mascot, but were not aligned on what that mascot should be," read the school's news release, which explained that the committee recommended DU not use any of the new mascot options.
Theresa Mueller, a spokeswoman for the University of Denver, noted that the school intends to give Boone and other past mascots a retirement ceremony in the upcoming academic year.
University officials claim that Boone was not up for consideration because of a consensus by the student body that it wanted an entirely new mascot — despite numerous Facebook postings to the contrary.
The image of Denver Boone was originally designed by a Walt Disney artist and named by a UD student back in 1968. The cartoony figure, which sports a scruffy beard and a raccoon skin cap, is reminiscent of the Daniel Boone character from the 1950s TV show based on the real-life pioneer.
Fox News also reports that Boone was a legend of early American history and the archetypal hero of the American Western Frontier, but his image and legend fell victim to revisionist history as he became associated with the forceful displacement of Native Americans from their land.