Marietta College (in Marietta, Ohio) is considering changing its mascot, Putnam the Pio, and its accompanying logo, a pioneer, because of concerns over possible "lack of inclusivity." Putnam the Pio was installed as Marietta College’s official mascot only six years ago, in 2014. He is modeled after General Rufus Putnam, the founder of the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, and a combatant in the American Revolutionary War…two seemingly great accomplishments and positive attributes.
Nonetheless, according to a recent email sent to the campus community by Marietta College President Bill Ruud, a 12-month review of the mascot and logo is now underway. Ruud wrote: "In light of recent events around our country and feedback from alumni and other friends of the College, Marietta College will undergo a thorough review of its Pioneer Mascot. This 12-month process makes official the preliminary discussions our leadership team and I have been having with interested alumni constituents throughout this past summer and fall, as well as with the Board of Trustees and Marietta College Alumni Association.”
Here is the Merriam-Webster definition of “pioneer”: 1) a member of a military unit usually of construction engineers. 2a) a person or group that originates or helps open up a new line of thought or activity or a new method or technical development. 2b) one of the first to settle in a territory. How can any of these by offensive? Surely constructing something out of the wilderness in the Revolutionary Era was a good thing. And how could any card-carrying progressive take issue with a person who opens up “a new line of thought” or method of technical development? Open-mindedness and science are both excellent things, no? But maybe some will say that the “pioneers” were not the first to settle anywhere in the U.S. and are interlopers on “stolen” land. If that should be their complaint, then they cannot logically, simultaneously welcome illegal aliens…or any immigrants, for that matter…into the country now.
What a strange and sad time we live in, when Putnam the Pio is considered problematic but Hunter the Pedo is not.
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