Rocky the Yellowjacket has represented the University’s athletic programs for almost a century, but how well has he really represented us? While the current iteration of Rocky is a sleek, sporty, snarling insect, previous depictions have ranged from overly realistic, to friendly, to a possible street gang, to the downright bizarre. The inconsistency of Rocky’s image reflects a debate that rages in the student body: How well does a Yellowjacket represent our school?
The yellowjacket is an angry creature known mostly for stinging everyone and everything. It contrasts sharply with our almost entirely Division III athletic department (thanks squash) and generally empty stands.
With that in mind, here are some alternatives that have been suggested for a new mascot:
The dandelion has been a symbol for the school longer than even the Yellowjacket, and it is already a symbol used frequently by the University. This suggestion seemed the least popular, with most students echoing the idea presented succinctly by first-year Jake Samberg: “A dandelion? That’s stupid.” One lone student (who wished to remain anonymous to avoid attacks on their character due to their dumb idea) said, “I thought it was a pretty good idea.”
The groundboi (Marota Monax) is often put forward as a possible mascot due to their frequent appearances on campus. Supporters of the groundboi have even produced a film to raise money in support of their cause titled “Groundboi Day.” The film will be a comedy based off of the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day,” but will feature a student forced to retake Chemistry 131 until he stops making dubiously sexist comments about the female TA. A supporter of the groundboi also managed to slip his manifesto into this newspaper last year, found here.
But detractors have argued that the school’s traditional colors of yellow and blue may cause some people to confuse the UR groundbois with their cousin, the yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota Flaviventris), which represents the University of Rochester, Wyoming. As a pro-groundboi activist, Samberg’s response to this issue was, “A yellow-bellied marmot? That’s stupid.”
The Quad Fox (Vulpes Vulpes Quadrangulum), though a beloved member of the UR community, has also met significant criticism. “That fox is disgusting and in no way represents me. Eating squirrels in the middle of Wilson Quad is not the same as getting food from The Pit and eating it outside because it’s a nice day outside,” said junior Melissa Santiago. Supporters of quad fox have responded somewhat incoherently, writing a letter using cut out pieces of magazine headlines that reads, “IT’S A FOX! WOO!”
Ultimately, it seems unlikely that the University will change the mascot. An anonymous administrator at the University explained the reasoning behind keeping the yellowjacket: “Florian Jaeger still has a position here, so I don’t think stinging people is enough to get someone removed at this institution.”