President Tom Rochon announced today that after eight months of submissions, comments and reviewing, Ithaca College will discontinue its search for an official mascot.
Rochon initiated the search to find a face for the Bombers in November. Students, alumni and faculty submitted more than 250 mascot ideas and in April, three finalists were revealed: a phoenix, a flying squirrel and a lake beast.
To collect feedback, the college distributed more than 50,000 surveys to the college community and received 9,986 responses, according to the mascot search website.
In a statement, Rochon categorized the mascot feedback into three categories, “Those who expressed enthusiasm for one or more of the mascot finalists,” “Those who did not care for any of the three finalists but thought we should continue to look for other mascot options” and “Those who did not think IC needed a mascot at all.”
Despite a “substantial majority” who would like to have a mascot, Rochon said, in the mascot search blog, “the minority opposed to having a mascot is large enough and impassioned enough that what began as an initiative to personify Bomber pride instead served a wedge issue to divide us.”
Rachel Reuben, mascot task force co-chair and associate vice president of marketing communications, said she wished the announcement could have been made at the end of the semester so students could be a part of the information. She said the college is currently monitoring Twitter, Facebook and blogs for feedback on the decision.
“I’d say the consensus is split half and half,” she said. “There are folks that are bummed, which is expected and which is understood. Then some others are saying this is a really good decision.”
The final cost for the search was about $1,000, according to a statement by Rochon, which included artwork drafts, the Bomber Bash event and other on-campus promotional print materials.
The ultimate decision to discontinue the search was made by Rochon with advice from the leadership team, Alumni Board of Directors and Board of Trustee members, Reuben said. At this time, Rochon said in a statement there are no plans to resume the search and survey data will not be released.
“As always intended we’ll remain the Bombers, just unfortunately without a visual or physical representation,” Reuben said.
Rochon could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Word on the Tweet
Bombers responded quickly to the announcement this morning on Twitter, some with disappointment, some with relief and some with sarcasm.
Junior Julianne Feller, “@ithacacollege Im actually a little disappointed we won’t be having a mascot… But I guess if its for the best interest of alumni relations.”
Rob Engelsman, ’11, “It’s a good day to be a Bomber. Or something. RT @juliannefeller: Sorry to everyone who worked so hard on the mascot search. IE @rcengelsman.”
Kyle Clark, ’04, “AlmaMater @ithacacollege abandons mascot search citing “large” “impassioned” minority opposed to any mascot. #Ithaca, land of minority rule.”
Pete Berg, ’07, “So after all that hubbub, @ithacacollege called off the Mascot search in the end. ithaca.edu/mascot/pointso… I’m still on #TeamFlyingSquirrel.”
Michael Ratty, ’01, “My alma mater has decided NOT to add a new mascot. Our long national nightmare is over! http://t.co/8eHlqcu #GoBombers via @ithacacollege.”