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Fresno State should consider Barney the dinosaur as its mascot, professor writes


A professor of politics doesn’t think much of California State University, Fresno’s new “principles of community” draft. Writing for Commentary, Ursinus College Professor Jonathan Marks says that he has a good suggestion for Fresno State’s new mascot: Barney the Dinosaur.

Marks sums up the new principles:

Fresno Staters “are Respectful,” which means, among other things, that they “listen with attention to all perspectives with the intent to understand,” “consider the impact of [their] communication,” and “honor [their] word and commitments.” Fresno Staters “are Kind,” so they “use words thoughtfully and [are] mindful of [their] actions.” Fresno Staters are “Collaborative,” so they “do [their] share and make space for others to shine.” They are “Accountable, so they “own responsibility for [their] behaviors and actions.”

“These principles are unobjectionable on their face, but they are also for first graders,” he declares.

He acknowledges that a major concern with these new principles is that they may constrain free speech. But his bigger issue is that they are “embarrassing piece of fluff.”

According to the professor who invoked “bullying problems” to explain the reason for the principles, the principles just say everyone should be nice to each other, Marks continues. “How do you object to that?” the professor asked.

“He is chair of the academic senate,” Marks writes. “That the draft principles of the academic community have next to nothing to do with academic communities leaves him unperturbed.”

The focus of the university has shifted to ensuring that all its students are happy and not challenged.

“Fresno State’s mascot is Victor E. Bulldog III. Perhaps it should be Barney the purple dinosaur instead,” he concludes.

Read the full article.

Clarification: A previous version of this article referred to a quote from the article that described Fresno State students as “children.” The reference has been removed. 

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