UC Davis Magazine

News & Notes


There has been a lot of confusion on campus, with very few people knowing that the official mascot is the mustang.



A cow? A mustang? An Aggie? You might say that the UC Davis mascot has had an identity crisis of late. But now a group of students is attempting to remedy that.

A student body vote on a referendum in February declared the Aggie the winner, and the referendum's authors are now hoping that current and past students, faculty and administrators will accept it as the official campus identifier.

"There has been a lot of confusion on campus, with very few people knowing that the official mascot is the mustang," said ASUCD Sen. Nathan Vasquez, a co-sponsor of the measure along with Ryan Roslansky and Ian Haet. "You don't see the mustang used around campus, and we felt that we were losing the [mascot] tradition."

Adding to the confusion was a student vote taken in 1993 that, by a slim margin, named the cow as mascot. And while apparently there is no official policy specifying how to go about changing the university's mascot, a lack of administrative and alumni approval of the cow design left the matter languishing without any consensus.

Today at athletic events, instead of the old familiar Ollie mustang head, you'll see a variety of characters courtesy of the Aggie Pack, the student booster group, including cows, men in kilts, the Blues Brothers and various interpretations of an Aggie.

The name Aggie does, indeed, have a long history at UC Davis. A 1922 editorial in the University Farm Agricola, predecessor to The California Aggie, said, "Up till now our men here have been known as the 'Davis Farmers.' In practically all the agricultural colleges of the United States, 'Aggies' is the name used. . . . The name has a college air, a football air, about it. . . . Let's call ourselves the Aggies. Hasn't it a winning sound to it?" A few years later, the mustang--inspired by a famous Thoroughbred stallion named Gunrock--was adopted as the symbol for
UC Davis athletic teams and used interchangeably with Aggie.

Of the nearly 3,000 students voting this winter, 75 percent called for the Aggie to replace the mustang. The measure's authors now face two challenges. One is to visually interpret the Aggie--and several options are being developed for the campus's consideration. The second is to gain acceptance for the new symbol among the many campus constituencies--alumni, graduate

students, faculty members--with the chancellor's approval as a final step.

Vasquez doesn't view the effort as breaking with tradition but as a way to rebuild school spirit and a sense of unity, and he is hopeful that the campus will rally behind the new mascot. "I don't think any of us disagree on that common goal," he said.

Contents News & Notes