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Education SDSU formalizes plan to banish Aztec mascot



Cost to Make Montezuma School’s Ambassador Could Reach Over $200,000

The 75-year-old presence of Aztec king Montezuma at San Diego State University will stay, but the red-faced “Monty” logo and dancing mascot will not.

After a nearly eight-month debate, SDSU President Stephen Weber announced last week that “the heart of Aztec tradition” will remain on the campus, but its role will be switched to a position of ambassador.

“As Aztec ambassador for SDSU, Montezuma will fulfill a role more befitting of his position as emperor, more befitting of our educational mission and SDSU’s special relationship with Mexico,” Weber said.

Weber’s decision means Montezuma’s role will take him to more places than the football field as a mascot. The nickname, Monty, will no longer be used, and the university will develop a series of activities and find other ways to celebrate the Aztec culture.

The decision also means the depiction of the red-faced mascot and use of the nickname will no longer be seen on university merchandise, buildings, facilities and any other place on campus. Weber said the logo will be phased out over time, but the cost to do that is unknown.

“We are going to be as fiscally responsible as we can,” Weber said. “There is going to be some cost.”

The mascot and logo are visibly scattered across the campus. The mascot is in clear view on the pedestrian bridge on College Avenue, it’s on T-shirts, gym wear, athletic gear and equipment and almost all school paraphernalia.

There’s Monty’s Den restaurant in the Aztec Center, and five Monty’s Markets on campus.

In an earlier interview, Sally Roush, SDSU’s vice president of business affairs, estimated the cost to phase out the mascot could easily range from $200,000 to $250,000.

At the time, Roush said the cost would depend on the extent of the change. If the school decided only to change the human representative of the mascot, the cost was expected to be minimal. But changing the Aztec logo was expected to be costly.

Weber said he is in the process of getting a complete inventory of what items and campus facilities contain the logo, which is only 3 years old.

The cost to upgrade the logo then was $35,000 and another $50,000 for licensing fees, Roush said.

The school also recently spent between $15,000 and $20,000 on a large project to put the upgraded logo on all the school’s service vehicles.

Weber said the current stock or merchandise and gear will not be thrown out, but new orders will follow the recent guidelines.

“A schedule will be developed by which red-faced logos and the Monty nickname on stationery and other literature, merchandise, buildings, facilities, and other installations, including the basketball surface in Cox Arena, will be replaced with new logos or work marks,” Weber said. “Most will be timed to coincide with the object’s ordinary repair, resurfacing and/or replacement schedule, with most changes expected to be completed by fall 2003.”

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