September 22, 2014

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Oberlin College introduces new mascot

COURTESY OF OBERLIN COLLEGE

COURTESY OF OBERLIN COLLEGE

OBERLIN — Oberlin College athletes will still be known as Yeomen or Yeowomen, but the college has welcomed a new fuzzy mascot to its family of logos.

As of Jan. 1, students will begin seeing more of a white squirrel, which will take the place of many of the traditional athletic logos.

The squirrel was suggested by a swimmer at the college and then quickly adopted after discussions with college officials, according to Delta Lodge Director of Athletics and Physical Education Natalie Winkelfoos.

“We decided how difficult it was to define what a Yeoman actually is,” Winkelfoos said. “In the past, our attempts to illustrate that, it was a challenge.”

The college’s athletic teams have been referred to as the Yeomen or Yeowomen likely since the college’s founding, Winklefoos said. She said the definition of a Yeoman has been argued in the past. The word could mean a person who owns his own land, a British naval officer, or simply, hardworking.

In 2010, the college unveiled another logo — the letters “OC” — in an attempt to provide a simpler design. The logo took approximately two years of planning and later appeared on uniforms, fields, publications and on the college’s website.

Winkelfoos said the school adopted the squirrel mascot, albeit unofficially, during the last few years.

The albino squirrel has been a part of the college’s history dating back to the 1970s. Often found in Tappan Square, the local folklore is that if one sees an albino squirrel on campus, he or she will have good luck.

“If you look around campus, everyone is using the Tappan Square squirrel,” Winklefoos said.

The logo was designed by Jim Ward of Collegiate Branding, who also created the “OC” design. The squirrel logo was designed with a “sense of movement and fierceness” to create an athletic feel to the image, according to a news release from the college.

Winklefoos said anyone who says squirrels are not fierce clearly hasn’t interacted with one.

“A squirrel can be quite ferocious. I don’t trust those things,” she said, laughing. “They’re squirrely for a reason.”

Winklefoos said the design is meant to be fun and a little different. The goal is to connect the athletic department with the rest of campus, she said.

“We will still be the Yeomen and Yeowomen, always and forever,” she said. “(The squirrel) is fun. It’s an option for us.”

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.


  • Conservator440

    How appropriate…let’s just hope that their mascot doesn’t chomp on the nuts that comprise the population of the college.

  • Pablo Jones

    Why does the squirrel have to be white? I think saying it is albino is just a cover. It is the colleges way of give a nod to their white donors who squirrel away their money and only give it to other rich white people instead of giving back to society. You aren’t going to see any white squirrels protesting at McDonald’s to raise minimum wage.

    • HankKwah

      Tappan Square has a few albino squirrels. Hang out in the park for a while and you will see one of them.

      • Pablo Jones

        And Oberlin College has more rich white people. You may not see them though, they like to wear camouflage and pretend they didn’t get into that school because of their parents money. Oberlin College, sorry OC (I guess like the TV show, they must be shooting for a reality show), home to the leaping white yeomen.

        • HankKwah

          So what you should do is encourage more rich black people to get involved and be part of the direction in which OC is going. Sorry to hear that you think something so innocent is so racist.

          • Pablo Jones

            Why should I be responsible? It is their school. If their student population is fine with using “whitey” then that just shows what they are all about. Why does the school think it is perfectly fine to use as a symbol of their school an animal with a medical condition? How many Albinos attend OC? Probably none, and if they can drag up one why don’t they ask that person how they feels about it? How long until the rich alumni of that school start calling albinism “squirrelly”? The school just keeps showing how insensitive they are.

          • HankKwah

            And I think you’re reading WAY too much into this. The albino squirrel, or any albino animal, is rare. The fact that there are more than one there in the Square is unique. Anyone that’s aware of this squirrel’s existence look for it when they’re in the area. I’m laying odds that you’re probably the only person that sees this and is screaming “racist” about it. There aren’t just whites at Oberlin. I’ve seen students of all races attending there, and I don’t think it would’ve got this far if any of them would’ve had an issue with it.

          • Pablo Jones

            You are probably one of the people that thinks Oberlin High school shouldn’t have changed their mascot from the indians. That just because there used to be indians living in the area that it is perfectly alright to have them as a mascot.

            I’m not being racist, I’m just pointing out the lack of consideration that OC has shown with this decision. Just because it has gone this far doesn’t make it right. Slavery went on for hundreds of years but that didn’t make it right.

          • HankKwah

            You would be wrong about the OHS mascot.

            You ARE being racist. It’s a squirrel. It’s white. It’s uncommon, and people feel like they’re lucky if they happen to see it in Tappan Square, and it’s probably the only white squirrel(s) within a one hundred mile radius. Where is it? Right across the street from Oberlin College. That’s it. It’s got nothing to do with rich, white people or anything else.

            And slavery is he11 and GONE from having ANYTHING to do with this squirrel.

            You can continue to argue your point, but I cannot begin to fathom the higher-ups at Oberlin College doing ANYTHING SO BLATANT as to inject RACE INTO A MASCOT. Why pi$$ off thousands of students and alumni with something like that?

            That’s all I’ve got to say.

          • Pablo Jones

            Less than a year ago OC had to cancel classes because of a few hate letters and people thinking they saw people walking around in KKK outfits. This is just a way to provide cover for anyone who wants to walk around with sheets over their head. They will just say they are dressed up as the leaping squirrel.

            The students and alumni need to stand up and not tolerate this racist stereotyping.

          • Oneday67

            Too funny!

          • Popper Popovich

            Good will you crawl back down the sewer and
            stay there ?

          • Willie Jenkins

            A gray squirrel would have been nice and neutral. LMAO!!

          • Pablo Jones

            Exactly, we know the problems with a white squirrel and if the squirrel was black we could only imagine what people would think if there were more black squirrels on campus than black students. A gray squirrel without a medical condition would be the perfect balance.

            Hopefully the Students, alumni, and community will stand up against this and make a difference.

        • http://comradealan.com/ Alan Pugh

          I guess OSU and OU must be shooting for reality shows too, right? Because no college has ever gone by their initials before.

          Oh, by the way… here’s an article from TEN YEARS AGO about the albino squirrels, so can you stop with the racism?http://www.oberlin.edu/stupub/ocreview/2004/11/12/news/article5.html

          • Pablo Jones

            I’m not the racist one, that would be the board of OC, they picked the racist symbol.

          • hate pc!!

            you sir are about the biggest moron I have ever heard! you are a racist if you see race in everything. let me guess you are one of those cry babies who think they are entitled because your grand-pappy had to pick cotton? Well suck it up buttercup you are not entitled to anything more or less than any other citizen of the united states. For all the pc cry babies no one has to like you no matter how stupid their reason for not liking you is!!!

          • Larry Crnobrnja

            Me thinks Pablo is messing with y’all. LOL

          • Pablo Jones

            Well if it doesn’t bother you than it is perfectly fine and to hell with everyone else.

    • Joe Smith

      I was waiting for the petty race card to be played

  • formerlorainresident

    Only a matter of time until the students protest the “color” of the squirrel. I think a march led by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton may be in order. This mascot is a racist symbol and further denigrates the minorities in this country.

    But wait, I am white and this offends me, like the Redskins offend the American Indians. I suggest the white middle-class Americans revolt!!! I am so offended by this I just cannot get on with my life!!!!

  • djm0457

    Appropriate…..The squirrel can feed on all the nuts that go to that school!!!!

  • Bruce Tennant

    change the name also Go Oberlin Squirrels !!

  • Joe Sandor

    Leave it a Rich Liberal college to come up with a SQUIRREL as a mascot!
    I guess the fruits and nuts at Oberlin think the squirrel is aapropos
    Might as well have a wimp as a mascot to go with the school traditions.
    . . . Who could yell a “squirrel cheer” at school/athletic events?
    . . . Who would wear a squirrel on their letterman jacket?
    . . . Who would put a quirrell decal on the back of their car?
    . . . Who would “proudly” tell their children/grandchildren they were a squirrel?

  • Chris in Cleveland

    I talked to that squirrel one day. It’s gender neutral and goes by the name of Pat.

  • bingotang

    Oberlin is also changing its name to an albino squirrel: http://www.thesteamypile.com/oberlin-is-going-nuts-over-its-new-name/