PORTALES, N.M.(KRQE)- It’s a symbol that New Mexicans know well and one that Eastern New Mexico University female athletes may be saying goodbye to. In the 70’s students voted to drop the Greyhounds as the mascot for the women’s teams in favor of the Zias. Now a vote could switch it back.
“I think it’s something that will bring us together as a whole school, a whole athletic department,”said Kris-Ann Walters, a student athlete at ENMU.
ENMU has identified two reasons for the name change. One is that the university knows they can not trademark or license the Zia. The second is because many people find offensive to use Native American name’s as mascots.
“I was with the privilege to be able to hear the tribe talk to us individually about why it means so much to them so I think ethically Eastern is doing a great job of allowing the Zias to take back what they have,” said Ashley Nelson, an ENMU Student.
There was some concern that having a dog as a mascot for female athletes might be offensive but many students don’t feel that way.
“I don’t think it will play a large part in it at all because a lot of universities actually do have some type of dog mascot and they don’t have any problems like that,” said Anne Harding, an ENMU student.
ENMU students are able to cast their votes online until April 9th. If the name change passes with the student vote, it will go to the Board of Regents on April 24 for final approval.