Transition team to guide Cedar High’s mascot change process

Composite photo of Cedar High School and the school's current logo, Cedar City, Utah, Nov. 28, 2018 | Photo by London Richards for St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY —A newly formed transition team has been tasked with guiding Cedar High School in the selection of a new mascot and logo.

According to a news release issued Monday by Iron County School District, the transition team will have “the responsibility of creating a new name and identity for the school that both preserves its rich heritage and opens a new and exciting chapter in the school’s future.”

At a special meeting Feb. 5, the ICSD school board voted 3-2 to “respectfully retire” CHS’s “Redmen” mascot effective at the end of the 2018-19 school year. Although the moniker has been used by the school since the early 1940s, it has generated a fair share of controversy of late, with some decrying its racial overtones and others insisting the name honors and respects Native Americans.

“This transition team is made up of a capable and diverse group of individuals,” CHS Principal John Dodds said in the announcement. “I am confident they will determine the best name and representation for our school, which will help strengthen the pride and common bond among our students, faculty, staff and alumni.”

The team includes current CHS students, alumni, community members and school administrators. Joining Dodds on the team are: Rand Bettridge, Jennifer Wood, Clay Tom, Terri Sanders, Danny Lewis, Jeff Burgess, LeAnn Leavitt, Byron Linford, Steve Shirts, John Black, Eric Fieldstead, Craig Cardon, Michelle Taylor, Jeanine Nielsen, Shannon Dulaney and one CHS student from each of the freshman, sophomore and junior classes.

An expected time frame and additional information regarding the mascot transition process have not yet been determined, but the group is expected to meet and work on the preliminary details soon, team members told Cedar City News.

More comments on mascot issue made during school board meeting

Although the decision to change the mascot has already been made, a few dozen people still showed up to Tuesday’s school board meeting hoping to get in one last word or two on the issue.

School board meeting attendees hold signs in support of Cedar High’s longtime “Redmen” mascot, which is being retired at the end of the current school year, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 26, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Though the topic wasn’t on the agenda, board members did allow about a half hour’s worth of comments during the public comment portion of the meeting. More than two dozen people addressed the board, speaking for about a minute or so each. Although roughly three-quarters of those who spoke said they were in favor of keeping the name Redmen, several did thank the board for voting to change it, including a few who said they believed it would help create a safer environment for students.

Many in the audience also held up handmade signs expressing their views.

Multiple commenters, many of them wearing “Redmen” clothing and ribbons, said they were unhappy with the board’s decision to change the name. Several implored the board to change its mind, or at least “hit the pause button.” Some suggested the issue be placed on a community-wide ballot. Others said they were concerned about the potential costs associated with making the change.

After the public comment period ended, no further action or comment on the issue was made by the board during the meeting.

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