By: Daniella Inzerilli
You thought it was a joke? So did we. On April Fool’s Day earlier this year, we released an article about how Marist made the decision to change Shooter the Fox to "Gary the Groundhog." It may not be a groundhog, but that April Fool’s "joke" is now partly true. On the morning of Tuesday, November 14th, students all across campus began sharing an article by the Poughkeepsie Journal, which discussed Marist’s decision to rename its mascot from "Shooter the Fox" to "Frankie the Fox." The decision quickly became a national news story, appearing in publications such as the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Associated Press, Sports Illustrated, and more within just hours. After the recent incident in Las Vegas, in which a gunman opened fire at a Jason Aldean concert, Marist Director of Athletics Tim Murray and Assistant Director of Athletics Andrew Alongi noticed the news referring to the gunman as "the shooter." In an email to the student body on Wednesday morning, Alongi stated, "Marist wants its athletics program to be associated with positive experiences and not in any way linked to the incidences of gun violence that had sadly become too common." Further, when someone yelled "Shooter" at an athletic event, the name may have resonated well with students, but for others, particularly those who didn’t know of the mascot’s name, the term perpetuated a negative stigma. With all this in mind, Marist Athletics administration quietly changed the name "Shooter" to "Frankie." Frankie appeared at the men’s and women’s basketball games this past weekend, ‘sporting’ the new name on the back of the mascot’s jersey. So, how do the students feel? They seem to have varying opinions. Many seem understanding and even encouraging of the mascot’s name change, while others voice frustration and disapproval. Whether you agree with the change or not, you didn’t know about it, and we think that’s a problem. Many students have expressed dissatisfaction in not being a part of the process, and we understand completely. But even if you didn’t have a say in the decision, you should have found out through your college, not through an external news source. For this reason, we understand your frustrations, and we hear you. It’s how we found out, too. The mascot’s new name, however, presents a positive opportunity for school spirit and growth. In an interview with Assistant Director Alongi on Wednesday morning, Alongi noted how Athletics wanted the mascot’s name to be "more all-encompassing." When the mascot was named in 1979, the name "Shooter" largely highlighted the college’s basketball program. Today, our mascot makes appearances at all kinds of athletic and even non-athletic events around campus. In this way, the name "Frankie" encompasses all of athletics and even more. Student Body President Matthew Marotti made the following statement:
We acknowledge that you were neither involved in nor notified of the decision by the college, and we entirely understand your disapproval with the process of how the change occurred. We hear you, and we feel the same way. However, while many students may express dissatisfaction, we encourage all students to embrace Frankie the Fox, support our student-athletes and the Athletics Program, and continue to attend our athletic events. If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback, feel free to contact me at email@example.com or the Marist College Athletics Program. In the meantime, Student Government will continue its commitment to fighting for your representation.