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UNLV drops ‘Hey Reb!’ mascot, keeps Rebels sports nickname

January 20, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2012, file photo, UNLV's mascot "Hey Reb!" attends an NCAA college basketball game against San Diego State in Las Vegas. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas has retired its "Hey Reb!" mascot after nearly four decades, but will keep its Rebels nickname. University president Keith Whitfield pointed in an announcement Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, to the removal last June of a campus statue of the mascot following racial justice protests around the nation and an outcry from student groups, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2012, file photo, UNLV's mascot "Hey Reb!" attends an NCAA college basketball game against San Diego State in Las Vegas. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas has retired its "Hey Reb!" mascot after nearly four decades, but will keep its Rebels nickname. University president Keith Whitfield pointed in an announcement Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, to the removal last June of a campus statue of the mascot following racial justice protests around the nation and an outcry from student groups, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The University of Nevada, Las Vegas has dropped its “Hey Reb!” mascot after nearly four decades, but it will keep its Rebels nickname.

University President Keith Whitfield pointed in a start-of-semester announcement to the removal last June of a campus mascot statue following racial justice protests around the nation and an outcry from student groups.

Whitfield’s predecessor as UNLV president, Marta Meana, said at the time the future of the mascot would be studied.

“There are no plans to bring it back,” Whitfield said Tuesday, and no plans to create a new mascot.

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Whitfield termed the nickname “a strong, nationally recognized brand,” that “captures the essence of an iconic city that is unconventional and celebrates its independence, tenacity and resiliency.”

“Rebels have a purpose or motivation for a greater cause and are not afraid to take risks to make incredible things happen,” he said.

UNLV was founded in 1957. The mascot was created in the late 1960s, originally named “Beauregard,” after a Confederate general in the Civil War.

It was renamed “Hey Reb!” in 1982, years after the school removed Confederate logos but kept the Rebels nickname.

The mascot appearance was modified in 1997 and 2017. The university commissioned a 60-page report in 2015 that found no connection between the Rebels name and the Confederacy.