Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana has announced that, starting with the upcoming school year, it is changing the school nickname from Crusaders to Beacons. This completes a process begun in February of this year, when the university announced it would be retiring its former Crusaders name, due to it being coopted by assorted and sordid racist groups including the Ku Klux Klan.
The surface silliness of this move fades when considering the city and university's history. In 1923, the Klan, which was highly operative in the city, came very close to purchasing the university. In this light, it's easy to understand why the university was looking for a different identifier rather than fighting the cultural/historical appropriation game.
But the Beacons?
As the university explains in its press release:
“Our new nickname directly connects to the University's motto, ‘In Thy Light We See Light,' and represents the Valparaiso University community in many ways,” said Jose D. Padilla, J.D., University president. “We are beacons of light and hope in our communities. We are beacons of change on campus, in our region and in our country. We are beacons of knowledge for our students' academic, social and spiritual growth. Above all, we are beacons of God's light around the world. We light the way for our students, so that once they graduate, they shine their light for others. We are all Beacons at Valparaiso University.”
Okay, still not convinced. But if Beacons is the new nickname, we at the Good Pirate Ship RedState have some suggestions.
First, if you don't have the players run onto the field or court (depending on the sport in question, of course) through a giant lighthouse, you've utterly failed at the entire deal. Lighting the lighthouse whenever the team scores? Mandatory.
Second, don't let the opportunity to outdo Ohio State's marching band's tradition of having a senior sousaphone player dot the I when the band spells out Ohio go to waste. At the final home football game of the year, have the marching band form a lighthouse with the senior sousaphone player at the top. Bonus points if he or she decorates their instrument with LEDs to light up at the end of the performance.
Third, the mascot. Let's face it, lighthouses are not cute and cuddly. We suggest either Freddy the friendly lighthouse keeper or Beaker from the Muppets. Or, in a nod to your past, Crusader Rabbit minus the Crusader gear, which he seldom wore in the cartoons anyway. Look, if Alabama can be nicknamed the Crimson Tide yet have an elephant as its mascot, you can have a rabbit.
Anyway, good luck to Valparaiso, and good luck to the cheerleaders and student section at all athletic events as they try not losing their minds when they have to yell “light 'em up Beacons” one. more. time.