Morgantown High School mascot: discussed by Native American student; addressed by the board

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 6:36 PM EDT
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MONONGALIA COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Petitions have been made and conversations are being had about the Mohigan mascot at Morgantown High School, and whether it shows pride or is offensive.

A current student at the school who is of Native American decent, shared his thoughts on why it would be offensive if it were removed.

“We really take pride in our culture and our ancestors,” the student, John Burgess said. “Keeping stuff around like the Mohigan, it’s still showing native culture and it’s something that’s not really shown anymore,” he said. “It’s kind of put in textbooks and forgotten about.”

“We’d like to see it kept because it show Morgantown and everywhere our teams travels or everywhere our word travels, Native American culture,” Burgess said.

The vice president of the county's school board says getting rid of the mascot is not something they plan on doing without proper dialogue.

“Something like this would never happen and will not be voted on, will not be brought before the board of education, until there’s plenty of time for all those who are involved and all of the alumni to have their voices heard,” Ron Lytle said.

As images have speculated on social media of the mascot being removed and the painting in the school being covered, Lytle said this is being done as they are repainting parts of the school, cleaning and responded to potential threats of vandalism. Everything will be back in place by the start of classes.

The principal provided 5 News with a statement:

Morgantown High School is engaged ongoing discussions about our imagery and how it reflects our identity. We plan to reach out to current students, alumni, community members, and support organizations to create a committee that will foster productive dialogue that upholds our tradition of excellence and achievement. At this time, no decisions have been about the mascot or the name Mohigan.

Paul Mihalko

Lytle also wanted to reiterate that the pandemic and getting students back into the classrooms is their biggest concern at the moment.

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