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Angry-looking Iowa mascot promotes ‘aggressivity and even violence,’ pediatrics prof says

Resmiye Oral is in the business of treating sick children, which gives her unique insight into what will make the University of Iowa’s special snowflakes freak out.

The clinical professor of pediatrics is lobbying the school to give Herky the Hawk, its intense-looking mascot, a different set of expressions because – seriously – his face is too angry, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reports:

Oral’s message to the Faculty Senate came in response to a series of posters and fliers on campus with messages welcoming new students — “On Iowa! Welcome Class of 2020! You’ll always be a Hawkeye. This is where it begins” — atop the images of Herky or the Tigerhawk.

“I would like to bring to the Faculty Senate’s attention that the attached Herky images are totally against the nonviolent, all accepting, nondiscriminatory messages we are trying to convey through campus,” Oral wrote in the email to her fellow senate members.

MORE: Iowa students feared KKK invasion because of anti-racist statue

Oral told the athletic department that incoming students should see “welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages”:

Herky’s angry, to say the least, faces conveying an invitation to aggressivity and even violence are not compatible with the verbal messages that we try to convey to and instill in our students and campus community.

Herky’s lack of emotional range – his perpetual “teeth-baring scowl,” as the Press-Citizen calls it – might somehow encourage students to kill themselves, Oral says:

As we strive to tackle depression, suicide, violence, and behavioral challenges and help our students succeed, I plead with you to allow Herky to be like one of us, sometimes sad, sometimes happy, sometimes angry, sometimes concentrated.

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The athletic department says it’s “in the process of formulating a response in regard to the Herky images,” but the administration isn’t promising any sudden changes, saying that changing Herky could harm “the value of its brand and logo.”

The Daily Caller notes that Oral isn’t the first University of Iowa professor to freak out on the athletic department: Two years ago a communications professor dressed as a robot to protest the pink color of the visitors’ locker room (we’re as confused as you).

Read the Press-Citizen and Daily Caller stories.

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MORE: U. of Iowa says it protected ‘inclusiveness’ by censoring statue

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” Previously he led media and public relations at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a free-market think tank. Greg is developing a Web series about a college newspaper, COPY, whose pilot episode was a semifinalist in the TV category for the Scriptapalooza competition in 2012. He graduated in 2001 with a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University, where he co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon.

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