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SEHS Principal: Time To Give The Axemen...The Axe

Brian Bull

UPDATE: 4-J Superintendent Gustavo Balderas has officially approved the mascot change. We will have further updates soon. 

After weeks of debate and surveying, South Eugene High School’s principal has made a formal recommendation on whether the school mascot, “The Axemen” should stay or go. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Principal Andy Dey has recommended the name be changed to “The Axe”. He submitted his formal recommendation to 4-J District Superintendent Gustavo Balderas, stating that while history is important to South Eugene High, so is inclusion.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
SEHS Principal Andy Dey at the January 31, 2018 forum to discuss the pros and cons of the "Axemen" mascot.

Many who advocated for keeping the “Axemen” argue it honors tradition and alumni, and contest the notion that it’s gender exclusive.

In his 8-page statement, Principal Dey says the expense of changing the mascot will not be significant, as the school continues to purchase uniforms on the same cycle…and the switch will be a one-time cost.

Principal Dey writes he’s humbled and honored by the South Eugene High School community for what he says has been respectful discussion. The team names all came to be known as the “Axemen” by 1936.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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