Ole Miss Votes ‘Rebel Black Bear’ as School’s New Mascot

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Move over, “Colonel Reb.” The Rebel Black Bear is officially the new king at the University of Mississippi.

After a student vote in February and months of polling, Black Bears beat out two other finalists, the Rebel Land Shark and “Hotty Toddy,” as the bear received 62 percent of the vote in the final poll.

“I know there was a lot of people emotionally invested in Colonel Reb and everybody might not completely agree with the bear, but I think everyone can be proud of how our students went about the process,” Sparky Reardon, the university’s dean of students, told The Associated Press.

The school banished “Colonel Reb” seven years ago in an attempt to distance itself from the old South. In 1997, the school put an end to waving Confederate flags at sporting events, and just last year, the band stopped playing the fight song, “From Dixie With Love,” to discourage the fan chant, “The South will rise again.”

Not everyone is happy about the changes.

“I think it’s hypocrisy. I think the fans of Ole Miss still want Colonel Reb. We have a petition with 3,500 signatures of students who still want Colonel Reb as their mascot and that’s the way it should be,” said Brian Ferguson, a 2007 graduate who is also a member of the Colonel Reb Foundation.

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