To the editor:
As a longtime supporter of Southeast Missouri State University and as an alumnus who has been proud to be an Indian (both by institutional affiliation and by blood), I am becoming increasingly alarmed by the mascot fiasco.
It appears that opponents of tradition are willing to forsake the symbolic Indian (and, I assume, Sagamore, Capaha Arrow and Otahki) but cannot bring themselves to give up the red and black school colors, because it would be too expensive to repaint everything.
The search committee is, therefore, faced with the task of finding a mascot that is red and to which students and alumni can relate. I fail to see how anyone can relate to a lupine creature that is, for all practical purposes, extinct or to a raptor that preys on field mice and other helpless creatures.
I have no idea which names were among the hundreds considered by the search committee, but certainly there must be some that are more symbolic of the history of the university and the community (caballeros, cavaliers, gators, cyclones, rivermen) or at least something that would indicate fighting spirit (Vikings, Titans, Warriors).
I sincerely hope the university will not, for the sake of expediency, abandon a symbol that has a long and honorable history for one that has no real relationship to the university or the community -- simply to save paint.
JOHN B. LONG