Keep the Tigers as Mascot of LSU!

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Keep the Tigers as Mascot of LSU!

Louisiana State University (LSU) named their mascot the Tigers (also sometimes known as the LSU Tigers, the Fighting Tigers, or the Bayou Bengals) in 1896 and it is a tradition which has carried forward through the present day.

The tiger is indeed a powerful creature and can be fearsome when provoked. The moniker, in this writer’s opinion, it intended to reflect the positive attributes necessary to succeed in intercollegiate athletics today. Attributes such as strength, agility, and quickness are noted in large cats as well their native intelligence and cunning. Tigers have been known to be skillful at seeking smaller prey but also intimidating to much larger creatures. What could be a better mascot in the competitive world of college athletics in the 21st century than the Bengal tiger?

The Bengal tiger is native to India and Bangladesh and on the endangered species list. LSU’s adoption of the Bengal tiger as its mascot is not only a tribute to the people of its native lands but an ecological effort to preserve the very existence of that species. It would be beyond short sighted and perhaps even an insult to those in Tigerland to abandon such a mascot. If LSU has a fault in having a tiger on campus, I would say it lies not in having a live tiger, but in its failure to have a Mrs. Mike to further propagate the species.

In a broad sense, the goal of any institution of higher learning should be to educate its students. Education comes in many forms, one being the institutional learning conveyed by professors to students and another being the socialization and teambuilding which naturally occurs among students. Universities have traditionally been bastions of free speech where students are exposed to varying viewpoints but also learn critical thinking and decision making.

The ability to listen to and understand varying facts and opinions on any subject is a critical life skill. Furthermore, the ability to assimilate those facts and opinions into an objective analysis and reach a conclusion is essential to decision making. In today’s fast paced society, attention spans have shortened and the ability to focus and filter out extraneous “noise” seems to be a lost skill. Instead, we now have safe spaces and prohibited trigger words to protect those who are either unable (unlikely) or unwilling (more likely) to listen to diverse viewpoints and have a critical discussion of them. I would note that in the real world after college, there are no safe spaces and there is no protection against trigger words. I therefore suggest that universities which coddle their students are doing them a disservice as they are not preparing them for real life.

There are those who might be so offended by the Tiger mascot that they cannot function on LSU’s campus. While I understand that possibility, I would ask: “Why did you go there in the first place?” For those who support both LSU and the Fighting Tigers (as well as those who wish to take a stand against political correctness), please sign this petition which shall seek to retain the Tigers as LSU’s official mascot.

 



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