Redmen resurface around campus

by Rob Stewart


The Simpson community thought it had seen the last of the Redmen when President Stephen Jennings announced in the winter of 1992 that the college would adopt a new nickname by the spring.

However, junior Andrew “Bibs” Mitchell resurrected the nickname last year and brought a piece of Simpson history to life. In the spring of 2004, amidst talk of creating a new mascot for the college, Mitchell decided the Redmens’ day had come again.

“I knew it wouldn’t happen, but I thought it would be cool if we were the Redmen again,” Mitchell said.

With that in mind, Mitchell went to work on creating a logo and design for his Simpson College Redmen apparel. He paid for the enterprise himself and a local business made the hats.

“I charged $5 a hat,” Mitchell said, “I didn’t make a profit. I just made my money back.”

Prior to Mitchell’s project, many students didn’t know the Simpson Storm had been the Redmen. This is probably because most current students were still watching Saturday morning cartoons when Simpson College, and the rest of the nation, was embroiled in a debate over the appropriateness of Native American mascots.

However, with the sale of more than 80 hats, the proverbial cat was out of the bag.

According to an editorial in the Jan. 16, 1992 issue of the Simpsonian, John Horsely, director of alumni affairs and nickname inventor, championed the nickname because he felt it would, “give opportunity for all the Indian lore and traditions, picturesque vocabulary, and is easy to say.”

Along with the nickname came a Native American warrior to serve as mascot. Prior to the Redmen nickname, since about 1910, the college’s athletic teams were referred to as the Red and Gold.

No mascot is accepted by all. To this day, not every student is happy about being the Storm.

“I thought there was a long tradition with the Redmen and if we were the Redmen again, there would be more school spirit,” Mitchell said, “In my humble opinion, the Redmen is cooler than a storm cloud with a lightning bolt.”

However, others are fond of it.

“I like the Storm, I think it’s unique to Simpson,” junior Megan Cecil said.

Nathan Seberg, a sophomore and Simpson football player, doesn’t think a school’s nickname or mascot is very important. However, he acknowledges the advantages of a racially neutral mascot.

“You have to be so careful in today’s society about what you say and what you do,” Seberg said. “It’s probably a good mascot because I don’t think the thunder gods are really gonna smack us down for it.”

Those who made the decision to change the mascot in the first place are confident they made the right decision for Simpson.

Adams cites the correspondence he receives from Native Americans as evidence.

“I get lots of letters from Native Americans saying, ‘Thank God you guys did this, that you had the guts to do this,'” Adams said.