UNLV's President said Tuesday the Rebels nickname will remain part of the school's sports teams, but the mascot known as "Hey Reb" is officially retired. The news came in President Keith Whitfield's Spring semester welcome letter released on Tuesday.
In the letter announcing the decision to stick with the Rebels nickname, Whitfield said Las Vegas "is regarded worldwide for a rebellious attitude that reflects nonconformity and even defiance at times." He says UNLV is no exception to this, acheiving goals when others suggested failure. He cited the university's recent success in establishing new professional schools and research achievements ahead of schedule.
Whitfield added, "Personally, I have always viewed the term “Rebels” as a strong, nationally recognized brand synonymous with UNLV. I believe the word 'rebel' represents an attitude or spirit. It captures the essence of an iconic city that is unconventional and celebrates its independence, tenacity, and resiliency. Rebels have a purpose or motivation for a greater cause and are not afraid to take risks to make incredible things happen."
Addressing the issue of the "Hey Reb" mascot retirement, Whitfield says since the removal of the mascot statue on the main campus last Spring, "Hey Reb" has essentially been phased out of all media promoting the university or athletics.
He says there are no plans to bring it back, and no plans to establish a new mascot.
UNLV joins schools like Michigan and Indiana, where nicknames are in place, but have no official mascot to accompany them.