Daily 49er

LBSU opts to move Prospector Pete statue and get a new mascot

A committee of students, faculty, alumni and staff agreed to relocate the statue, given its controversial background.

The+Forty+Niner+Prospector+statue+is+planned+to+be+moved+to+the+alumni+center%2C+once+it+is+finished.
The Forty Niner Prospector statue is planned to be moved to the alumni center, once it is finished.

The Forty Niner Prospector statue is planned to be moved to the alumni center, once it is finished.

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

The Forty Niner Prospector statue is planned to be moved to the alumni center, once it is finished.

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After months of deliberation, the campus community has finally decided to move an iconic statue that students have walked past at Long Beach State for 51 years, in response to a growing argument that Prospector Pete may be a symbol of genocide.

Adding to this change will be a campus-wide discussion to find a new mascot for the school.

“In terms of finalizing a new mascot, I don’t want to give a too ambitious timeline. Change is coming soon,” said Leen Almahdi, vice president of Associated Students Inc.

According to President Jane Close Conoley, a group of students, faculty, alumni and staff have come to an agreement to move the statue, formally known as the “Forty-Niner Prospector,” from the plaza outside Liberal Arts 5. Current plans suggest the statue will be relocated to a new alumni center, which is still in the early stages of development.

ASI Senate passed a resolution last March to change the statue’s location. The resolution recognizes the violence that prospectors inflicted upon Indigenous peoples during the California Gold Rush and seeks to disassociate the campus from a symbol of genocide. Despite the statue’s controversy over recent years, the statue cannot be destroyed under the Visual Artists Rights Act.

“Prospectors did play a huge role in Indigenous genocide and although we do really appreciate the history of our university, we also want to acknowledge the history of Indigenous peoples and choose [a] mascot that is one, reflective of the diversity that we have on campus, and two, that honors our mission for inclusivity,” Almahdi said.

Craig Stone, program director of the American Indian Studies department, praised the decision to move away from Prospector Pete.

“For somebody who’s been involved since 1976, it’s just so cool,” Stone said. “Finally, the students rallied and … that’s like something awesome.”

Stone noted that at the time of LBSU’s inception, the campus was primarily populated by Anglo and Judeo-Christian students.

“…You’re taught about the genocide that happens in Europe, [but] not taught about the genocide that happened in your own state,” Stone said. “For us, [the 49er mascot] is an icon of genocide.”

University administration has also reached out to Forty-Niner Shops, asking to not restock inventory on shirts sporting Prospector Pete after its remaining items with the mascot run out.

The ASI Senate agreed to write up a referendum for a finalizing a new mascot, with one rule.

“The Cal State University system has asked us to stay away from people [as mascots],” Conoley said.

Lee Brown, a 1960 Long Beach State alumnus, retired journalism department faculty member, former ASI treasurer and Daily 49er editor, said the university should not prioritize the removal of the statue.

“I think what they need to do is get rid of Prospector Pete right after they get rid of [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps],” Brown said. “The ROTC and the U.S. Army killed a hell of a lot more Native Americans than Prospector Pete and the 49ers did. As soon as they talk about getting rid of ROTC, they can talk about getting rid of Prospector Pete.”

Brown said he’s one of the university’s alums who purchased an engravement on one of the brick’s surrounding the statue.

“[I paid] about $125 to buy a brick with my name on it at the foot of Prospector Pete,” Brown said. “And if they do anything to take away Pete, I want my money back.”

Emma DiMaggio contributed to this story.

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16 Comments

16 Responses to “LBSU opts to move Prospector Pete statue and get a new mascot”

  1. Daniel on September 12th, 2018 7:50 am

    I will pay Lee Brown a hundred a fifty bucks. Please help me make arrangements.

  2. Christopher Monaco on September 12th, 2018 9:21 pm

    This is hilarious and beyond ridiculous. What’s next, the removal of the Walter Pyramid because its offensive to those with Egyptian origins? Spend your time fixing real problems instead of these non-issues

  3. David on September 13th, 2018 7:19 am

    Sorry Daniel, but based on the official .gov inflation calculator $125 in August of 1960 is the equivalent to $1,064.81 today. So the $150 offer is a complete slap in the face to Mr. Brown! The university should offer to pay all brick holders $1500-2000 if the statue is removed from its current location. Maybe the American Indian Studies department can sell cookies and soy milk to help fund the cost!

  4. DEREK LOPEZ on September 13th, 2018 7:50 am

    James you and the rest of the people responsible for this decision are ignorant PC fools not to mention irrational! Congratulations I will never donate another dime this University!

  5. Nicole on September 13th, 2018 11:41 am

    I agree with Professor Stone. About damn time.

    Alumna 2012

  6. Michael on September 13th, 2018 3:44 pm

    What a bunch of weak willed, weak minded children. Finding fault, constantly changing and constructing the narrative around what is “offensive”. Not that old of an alumn and I’m embarrassed that we allow a soft minority of people who find reasons to be offended. No doubt the people advocating this have zero respect for the University’s history, and most definitely don’t support or donate to our athletic programs.

    Jane, you’re weak and you don’t represent the large amounts of alumni who disagree with this decision.

  7. Christian Lee on September 13th, 2018 4:22 pm

    Those who seek to erase history are
    those who are destined to repeat it.
    The prospector is a symbol of the determination and perseverance of those who left behind everything to travel to California for a better life. Though a rugged and lawless landscape, most men and women worked hard to make a living and support their families and never hurt or took anything from indigenous people or other ethnic minorities. Most of the atrsosities of the time are attributed to the construction of railroads where land was stolen from Native Americans and Chinese and African Americans were treated harshly and paid low wages.
    So do today’s students and faculty no longer value the determination and perseverance of working hard for a better life? Isn’t that why most people choose to move to this country?

  8. Aim on September 13th, 2018 11:05 pm

    Honestly, I feel the money should be used for something more important like paying the professors, adding more classes that are needed, and fixing school buildings then relocating a statue just because a small number of people are uncomfortable by it. The last time I was in CSULB, the art department was in need of fixing, professors were being let go, and classes were getting cut out. If these people want to get rid of the statue, it should come out of their own pockets, not the school’s.

  9. Leann W. McElhaney on September 13th, 2018 11:52 pm

    Hello and Good Day,
    I wanted you give you my student email address for future reference. Let me know if you a photographer at anytime, if it works with my schudule. But please let me know about art show in locate areas..

    PS: I will stop and say hug and hello, Life is to precious these days

    Sincerely,

    Leann W. McElhaney

  10. Aim on September 14th, 2018 12:18 am

    Honestly, I feel that the money should be used for something more important like paying Professors with better wages, fixing old buildings, and add new classes that are needed then relocating a statue just because a small number of people feel uncomfortable. Last time I attended CSULB, the art department was still in need of fixing, professors were being let go, and classes were being cut. The money should come out of their own pockets, not the school’s.

  11. Jon Alegria on September 14th, 2018 9:23 am

    So Prospector Pete (A gold miner) represents genocide? Do these PC clowns/politicians know there is a gold miner on the seal of California. Explain that one to me.

  12. Jon Alegria on September 14th, 2018 9:27 am

    So they want to rid Prospector Pete (a gold miner) because it represents genocide? Do these PC clowns / politicians know that there is a gold miner of the seal of California? Explain that to me please..

  13. John Dyer on September 14th, 2018 10:45 pm

    “The Cal State University system has asked us to stay away from people [as mascots],” Conoley said. So animal mascots are safe? Perhaps we can have a chicken as our new mascot. We can name it “Conoley the Cuck” or something along those lines. In honor of President Conoley allowing the PC clowns to ruin our BEACH!

  14. Anonymous on September 18th, 2018 10:25 pm

    Very funny that the VP of USI is Leen Almahdi. “Almahdi” is the name of an Islamic Caliphate who slaughtered over 70,000 people in 700 AD, you can google it. If anyone is looking for genocide perhaps she should start by changing her name, no? Oh wait only Europeans can commit genocide. This is a joke and slap in the face to people who focus on intellectual life rather than vanity. – Class of 2017

  15. Gallagher on September 21st, 2018 9:59 am

    And the Indians are also guilty of genocide. Some tribes wiped out other tribes. But because they’re not white, they get a pass. in teh case of prospetors, I’d be willing to bet the Indians fired the first shot. Can that be disproved, or won’t it pass the PC smell test.

  16. Anonymous on September 21st, 2018 5:51 pm

    I will at once change my will so that CSULB will no longer be named as a recipient. Hope all the indigenous people will make up the difference. This is a complete afront to me.

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