On Feb. 11 interim President Collette Irwin-Knot announced Valparaiso University will be retiring the Crusader Mascot in response to a recent survey sent out to students and alumni. 

All students of the Valparaiso University community were recently sent an email in regards to changing or keeping the mascot, the Crusader. This survey was sent out on Jan. 12 to hear the student voices and opinions of the mascot and whether or not it aligns with Valpo values. Thus far, student opinions have been mixed, leading to ongoing debate over the matter.

Nick Faruzzi, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, has provided his perspective on the mascot survey and Valpo’s next few steps. Faruzzi explains that he is not in favor of Valpo changing the mascot.

“Since 1942, the Crusader has represented this close knit university,” Faruzzi said. “It has since become an icon to the university and its community. It represents our will and determination.” 

Faruzzi explains why the mascot should not be changed and how much it means to Valpo as a whole. 

“It stands as the face of this University and is how the students, staff and alumni have been represented for 79 years,” Faruzzi said. 

To Faruzzi, the Crusader is shown as a projection and common symbol to all of its community. 

“If Valpo changed the Crusader mascot, it would disconnect all of its previous associations from the modern day,” Faruzzi said. “No longer would ‘being a Crusader’ mean anything and those that graduated or worked as a Crusader would no longer be associated with this prideful university’s legacy.” 

Amanda Nommensen, a sophomore social work major, gave some insight on her personal opinions regarding the mascot survey. Nommensen notes that she is in favor of changing the mascot. 

“I stand by the group of individuals that want to change our mascot because the ‘Crusader’ name has imagery that represents war, violence and racism. I think that there have been other schools that have changed their mascot, that Valpo should take part in that - our mascot doesn’t stand with our purpose,” Nommensen said. 

Throughout the interview, Nommensen brings up the idea of the students perspective. She stated that the students should be in charge of the changes for our school, since we are the current population that is here on campus

 “If we [the students] feel that the Crusader name represents these images, we should be in charge of wanting to change that name for our school,” Nommensen said. 

To Nommensen, part of the importance of changing the mascot is tied to making Valpo an inclusive space for everyone.

“Changing the mascot is going to be what makes Valpo the most inclusive place for everybody, diversity wise too. We do not want connections of racism, violence and war connected to our name,” Nommensen said. “Valpo needs to strive to make the best choices for their students, and how they feel about the school’s bigger picture.”

“A mascot should be a symbol on which all of the members in the community should be proud to be, and I just feel like the Crusader is nothing that makes every student feel included,” Nommensen said.

Through its mission and values, Valpo strives to create a welcoming and inclusive community.

The Crusader must represent what this university values and respects, for the future of our community.  

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