Published: Friday, August 30, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013 02:08
Now that former mascot-in-training Jack Jr. has settled into premature retirement, it is time to look toward the future of Georgetown’s mascot. In doing so, the university would do well to consult the Bulldog Advisory Committee and recognize the unifying value of a live-in mascot.
Fr. Christopher Steck, S.J., illustrated the complicated nature of managing an on-campus bulldog and identified BAC as the best way to make mascot decisions in an op-ed for The Hoya ("Campus Deserves a Voice in Our Mascot’s Future," Aug. 4). The committee — which includes representatives from Hoya Blue, the Georgetown University Student Association, the Jack Crew and the Office of Advancement along with faculty and alumni — has a holistic view of the mascot’s role in student life.
Rather than have administrators, who are less involved with the mascot on a day-to-day basis, decide the fate of our traditions, the university should have committed — and should commit in the future — to hearing out the views of this committee. While it is possible that the final decision on J.J. would have been the same had BAC made the call, it would have been received with greater respect and understanding by the Georgetown community.
But beyond this summer’s missed opportunities for dialogue and inclusion, an on-campus bulldog is worth fighting for as a beloved part of student life. Going forward the administration should not consider eliminating a live bulldog altogether or implementing a liability-free "rent-a-dog" model.
Attitudes toward J.J. range from adoration to indifference, and J.J.’s early retirement stemmed from concerns after an incident in which he injured a child last fall. But any justifications for the removal of a live-in mascot altogether would be an overreaction at the expense of tradition.
Harry Truman once said that if you need a friend in Washington, get a dog. A friendlier attitude from the university toward this beloved position would go a long way.