ASU Mascot Harms Students
Arizona State University, I call on you to change your mascot. It’s time to throw away the “Sun Devils” moniker, and choose something better. Let me explain why.
My daughter is getting ready to go to college in the fall, so we’re touring the local universities here in Arizona, to ask questions and learn all about the campus. The spring semester is going on right now, so we had a chance to experience campus life for a few hours with all the students and professors and staff walking, biking, generally doing their thing. Our tour of the University of Arizona down in Tucson three weeks ago went very well – the tour went smoothly, the campus was nice, the students all looked like they enjoyed being there. Today we toured ASU’s main campus in Tempe, and it didn’t go nearly as well.
The physical aspects of the tour were nice, overall. The two students who guided us around the campus were friendly and helpful enough, and we got to see all the kinds of things I’ve always wanted to learn about at this campus: libraries, public eateries, major buildings that the students take classes in, and a tour of a typical dorm room. On the surface everything was normal. But everywhere we went I could feel a huge weight, a cloud-of-doom feeling, which wasn’t present at the UofA.
I could sense the following thoughts tied to the oppressive feeling:
- They told me I’m a Sun Devil. I don’t want to be a Devil!
- Am I really a Devil? I thought I was a good person!
- I want to be a good person, not a Devil.
- I’m supposed to yell “Go Devils!” But I don’t want to encourage Devils.
- If I succeed or help others to succeed, am I helping Devils succeed?
- I am secretly a good person; I hate having to temporarily be a Devil until I can get out of this place. This place is fucked up.
The symbol of a Devil is a well-known symbol in the United States of America. The Devil is clearly the greatest foe of goodness and righteousness in Christianity, which is by far the biggest religion in this country (more than 78% of people are Christians, according to a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life). This negative symbol is known to everyone in the USA, not just Christians. It represents the most extreme form of evil, unstoppable badness, even to many non-Christian people. This symbol is dangerous in the psyche of nearly everyone in this country.
So now, let’s think: if you are a Devil, and you succeed in your work, what are you doing? What kinds of conflicts does that create inside of you? If you sabotage your own success in order to block the Devils, what are you doing to your life? Why are you paying money to be a Devil? What are you even doing here?
The Cloud Causes Conflict
Of course each student knows they are not an actual Devil! That’s obvious. They look in the mirror every morning and clearly see that they are a human being. That’s why there is a conflict within them. They see and know they are one thing, human, but everyone around them tells them they are something else – a Devil. These two opposites create a powerful conflict within them that they must fight every day while studying, talking to other Devils (I mean students), eating, sitting in class, throwing a party, etc.
Have you ever had people around you believe something wrong about you, believe you did something bad that you didn’t actually do, and start treating you that way? Do you remember how that felt? You didn’t do it – you know that clearly, in your mind. So why do you feel uncomfortable? Why do you keep thinking about it, why does it bother you? You kind of want to believe them now, even though your mind says “no! I didn’t do it.” Come on, don’t you want to believe what all your friends and family are thinking? That’s the kind of conflict I’m talking about. And if that thought about you is that you are the most evil symbol in our society, how much stronger does that stand against you; how much more energy do you have to expend to fight it?
If ASU Changed their Mascot
If ASU changed its mascot to something more psychologically neutral, current students would feel a kind of relief in their life without knowing why. Future students would be relieved without even knowing it. Future students would get better grades easier, have more fun, adding to a greater success for ASU as a university. Especially in difficult economic times when so many businesses are failing, anything a smart business can do to create greater success in their future can help keep them afloat until our society reaches the next economic upswing.
Are there entire groups of religious people who won’t even attend ASU because of their mascot? I bet there are. That’s a whole demographic of students and income ASU could have access to, if they simply spent a finite amount of money one year to change their mascot to something else.
Before I visited ASU in person, I thought the Sun Devils was just a silly thing. You can have whatever mascot you want at a University, they chose “Sun Devils”, I don’t even know what that is, but OK. Who cares; it’s not a big deal. But after I visited, I realized the powerful invisible impact of that choice, and I realized it needs to be changed.
Thought forms are very powerful. Thousands of people thinking the same thought forms every day for 4-5 years in a small space (1-2 square miles), eventually replaced by a fresh set of people thinking the same thought forms once again, creates a cloud of interconnectedness of those forms. If the forms are positive and uplifting, the people in that place will experience extra positive energy and happiness. But if those forms are negative and conflicting, that cloud drains energy and happiness from all those standing in its influence.
ASU, stop torturing your students in a way they aren’t even aware of! Address your failure head-on, and make it right. I call on you to do this now. Just get it done, it won’t cost a lot to do, and everyone will thank you in the long run. Stop the bleeding of a certain kind of good will from your organization. Stop the unusual disadvantage you’ve placed against all of your students. You can do this, I have faith in you.
If Arizona State University changes their mascot to something less harmful, I believe they will be around for a very a long time.