While the internet is busy mocking ESPN for pulling their anchor Robert Lee off his planned broadcast at the University of Virginia because his name is too similar to Confederate General Robert E. Lee, student activists at the University of Southern California are now protesting the name of their mascot because its bears a resemblance to the name of Robert E. Lee’s horse.
The Daily Trojan claims on Thursday, during a rally against racism in the wake of Charlottesville, USC Black Student Assembly co-director Saphia Jackson asserted, “white supremacy hits close to home” in reference to the name of the USC mascot, “Traveler.” Robert E. Lee’s horse was named “Traveller”—with two “l”s.
During the rally, Jackson said, “I push administration, faculty and staff to have serious engagements and not dismiss our issues because we are here for serious change,” adding, “We can no longer afford to stay silent.”
However, when asked by the Daily Trojan if Jackson and fellow co-director Ariana Seymore would pressure the university administration to get rid of references to “Traveler,” the pair declined to comment.
The LA Times spoke to the widow of Richard Saukko, who first rode the original Traveler nearly 56 years ago. Pat Saukko DeBernardi told the LA Times, “The problem is this: maybe three weeks ago it was fine.”
“So now the flavor of the day is . . . we all have to be in hysteria. . . . It’s more of a political issue. The horse isn’t political and neither am I,” Saukko DeBernardi continued.
The USC website explains the horse is a “symbol of ancient Troy.”
“USC’s Traveler is and has always been a proud symbol of Troy. There is no truth to any other claims or rumors about its name,” it ends.
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