Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 30, 2024

New Blue Jay mascot name unoriginal

November 8, 2013

The Editorial Board has long lamented Hopkins’ lackluster school spirit. With the exception of lacrosse in the spring, it seems Hopkins’ sporting events are sparsely attended and are almost never discussed among the student body. Hampered by a persistent lack of enthusiasm, the administrators finally decided to do something about it this last week by running a vote to name the Hopkins mascot.

Although the Editorial Board is heartened by the idea, we were horrified by the result: by popular demand, the Hopkins mascot has officially been named “Jay the Blue Jay.”

The history of sports mascots is wrought with unoriginal ideas. The MLB’s New York Mets, for instance, have “Mr. Met”, who fittingly is just a giant baseball with a face. When sports teams aren’t just turning the ball their sport uses into a costume, they’re copying the mascots of other teams; out of 347 Division I college football team mascots, there are 13 Bulldogs, 13 Tigers, 11 Eagles, nine Wildcats, seven Bears, six Panthers, six Cougars, five Huskies, five Spartans, five Rams and four Hawks. On the opposite end of the spectrum, other school mascots are just plain weird: the Purdue Boilermakers? The St. Louis College of Pharmacy Eutectic? The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors? The Heidelberg Student Princes? The Concordia College Cobbers? With these extremes in mind, it seems Hopkins’ animal of choice is the perfect amount of originality: not too overused but not unheard of. Thus, we already had a leg up on the competition. The bar was set pretty low, and all the voters had to do was pick a name that wasn’t completely wince-inducing to make the exercise a success.

But apparently, that was too much to ask. Jay the Blue Jay? Really? Are Hopkins students so uninventive as to include the name of our animal in the name of our animal? Could you imagine if Baltimore’s more famous football team was led onto the field by “Ray the Raven”? That’s like the Philadelphia baseball team using “Phil the Phillie,” the Houston football team going with “Tex the Texan,” or the Buffalo football team trying “Bill the Bill”. Repeating the name is redundant, and it’s unnecessary.

Perhaps part of the blame lies with the method in which the decision was made. Administrators advertised the election via a post in a Facebook group. Many students did not see the post, either because they are not members of the Facebook group or because they simply were not online at the right time to see the post. In the midst of a busy midterm season, the vote was inadequately advertised, such that many News-Letter editors were never aware that a decision was being made. Had the poll been sent out via email, which is guaranteed to reach the entire study body or been featured on the next SGA ballot, perhaps with more options than the four that were provided, higher voter turnout and a better outcome might have resulted.

The Hopkins campus has assembled some of the brightest minds in the entire country, and its students have a proven track record of accomplishing amazing things when they put their mind to it. Surely, we can do better than this.

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