Skirmish Over Minuteman Mascot Ends In Fleet Retreat

AMHERST, Mass. - In a retreat under fire, Chancellor David Scott decided yesterday to drop a proposal to change the Minuteman logo of this University of Massachusetts campus.

Campus activists say the logo promotes sexism, racism and violence.

The chancellor, the top campus official, had said he would consider scrapping it.

But faced with a national outcry from outraged alumni and others, Scott reversed himself.

"The second shot heard round the world apparently was fired when I said I would . . . talk with students about the Minuteman mascot," Scott said.

The "shot heard round the world" refers to the first fighting of the American Revolution. The Minutemen, widely cherished figures of U.S. and state history, served as American militiamen during the revolution, and they were said to be ready to fight the British at a minute's notice.

"While we continue to welcome people's opinions on the mascot, there will be no formal debate on the issue at this time, nor will I authorize any change in the name `Minuteman' as our team mascot," Scott said in a statement sent to news organizations.

Scott's announcement on Tuesday that the Minuteman logo would be reviewed came after about 30 campus protesters rallied to demand a student referendum to select a new emblem.

The protest's organizer, Martin Jones, said the Minuteman promotes racism because he is white, sexism because he's a man, and violence because he carries a musket.

"I don't call it political correctness," Jones, who is black, said earlier. "I call this social justice."

He did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment yesterday.

University officials were ridiculed by news commentators, alumni and others around the country for taking the protest seriously.