San Diego State University will keep the word Aztec as its nickname but use the image of an Aztec abortion doctor to create a more culturally sensitive version of its mascot. The decision comes after nearly 20 years of debate about cultural appropriation.
“The Aztec Warrior will be replaced by an indigenous Aztec Doctor,” interim SDSU President Sally Roush said Thursday. “We expect a much more dignified and appropriate demeanor, so you won’t see the Aztec Doctor dancing with the cheerleaders, but you will see him providing human sacrifices to cheerleaders in the locker room, which is more consistent with Aztec culture.”
Roush based her decision on a report from a task force of 17 faculty, students, alumni and community leaders. Two task force members recused themselves because one part of the report says, “No human should be a mascot, but all humans should have the option to sacrifice others.”
The report led Roush to decide that the words “Monty” and “Zuma” will no longer be used in certain awards granted by the university. Those nicknames represent the word Montezuma, which Roush said is “very disrespectful of the emperor of the Aztec civilization.”
Adela de la Torre, a social justice expert who will become SDSU’s permanent president in late June, said those awards will now be named after the famous American abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell.