There’s been a lot of controversy about UNLV’s Hey Reb! mascot this year.
In June, retiring Senator Harry Reid said the Nevada Board of Regents should take a look at the Rebels’ nickname.
Less than six months after Reid’s comments, the issue of UNLV’s mascot erupted once again following a UNLV student rally in solidarity with students at the University of Missouri. After receiving student input as well as threats from alumni and donors, via a website called KeepHeyReb.com, that they would pull funding from the school if the mascot is changed, UNLV President Len Jessup announced on November 30 that he would not change the school’s mascot or nickname.
Founded in 1957, UNLV originally relied heavily on an identity as being the southern university, with the student government calling itself the Confederate Students of the University of Nevada and the Confederate flag placed prominently on football helmets. The nickname “Rebels” came directly from that identity. It was only when the school hired Jerry Tarkanian in 1973 and he pushed for a change, saying it would be hard to recruit black athletes, that the nickname was changed to “Runnin’ Rebels” and the original mascot, Confederate Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, was changed to the Minutemen-themed Hey Reb!