Iowa Mascot Controversy Centers on Facial Expressions

Mascot wars have moved on to another issue – not the heritage of the mascot but the mascots facial expressions. The scowling University of Iowa’s Herky the Hawk is at the center of the controversy.

In an article published by the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Resmiye Oral, a clinical professor of pediatrics at UI, wrote recently in an email to UI athletic department officials, “I believe incoming students should be met with welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages and our campus community is doing a great job in that regard when it comes to words. However, Herky’s angry, to say the least, faces conveying an invitation to aggressivity and even violence are not compatible with the verbal messages that we try to convey to and instill in our students and campus community.”

The solution, according to Oral is that Herky display a wider array of facial expressions.

The professor made an interesting connection between the students and their mascot. “As we strive to tackle depression, suicide, violence, and behavioral challenges and help our students succeed, I plead with you to allow Herky to be like one of us, sometimes sad, sometimes happy, sometimes angry, sometimes concentrated,” she wrote.

UI athletic department officials are aware of this request and are in the process of formulating a response in regard to the Herky images,” Steve Roe, the department’s director of communications, said via email Tuesday.




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