Board unanimously approves committee recommendations

Jacob Clanton, Print Editor-in-Chief

Manhattan High’s mascot is still the Indian, but that was never in doubt.

The USD 383 Board of Education voted to unanimously approve all five recommendations from the mascot committee Wednesday evening. The committee recommendations stemmed from the Dec. 7 meeting, where the board voted to retain the mascot and create a committee to further look into several issues.

The board voted on five recommendations: Renaming the commons area at Manhattan High West campus the Frank Prentup Commons and creating an exhibit about Prentup; establishing a student scholarship or teacher grant through the Manhattan-Ogden Public Schools Foundation in honor of Prentup; including local Native American history and culture in curricular decisions of the district; reinstituting a Diversity Committee for the district; and directing the Manhattan High student body to create a physical mascot distinct from the Indian and all-inclusive of the student body.

Early on in the board meeting, president Darrell Edie made clear that the mascot itself was not up for board approval. Rather, the board was voting only on the recommendations made by the committee.

The recommendation that affects MHS the most is the last one: creating a physical mascot. The board made clear that principal Greg Hoyt and the MHS Student Council would work together to give a recommendation back to the board. There is also going to be student involvement.

“I really want [the decision] to be student-driven,” Hoyt said, “and I think StuCo probably has some ideas regarding that.”

Though the approval is recent, StuCo has thrown around the idea of how to create a physical mascot.

“We’ve briefly talked about how we could do something like that,” student body president Lily Colburn said. “We would have to get input from the student body as to ideas to the physical mascot, so some sort of survey that would allow as many students as possible to say what they think a good physical mascot would be, or some sort of comment or suggestion box. What we’re weighing is how do we make sure that as many students as possible get a voice, while also not letting students abuse [their choices].”

During their discussion, the board noted that several rules needed to be followed. The physical mascot must be distinct from Native American history and culture, respectful and inclusive of all students, and can’t be a human. The board also set a deadline of Dec. 1 for receiving a recommendation.

“I know that the timeline put on the student body to report back to the current sitting board is fast,” Hoyt said, “but I have very strong faith and belief in the student body that they’ll rise to the challenge, being participatory in the process, and come recomendation for the board.”

Another recommendation the board approved was renaming the commons area the Frank Prentup Commons. There will also be an exhibit about Prentup.

“I don’t know about the funding behind it,” Hoyt said, “[but] we’ll make it happen because I do think it is very appropriate to not only name the commons area after Coach Prentup, but also to have a working display that describes who the man is and why, and how, we became the Indians.”

In addition to the commons, a scholarship or teacher grant will be named in Prentup’s honor. The award will be given out through the USD 383 foundation, a group distinct from the district.

“I had been asked at one time if we would assist with that if that happened,” foundation president Jim Morrison said, “and I said, ‘The foundation would do whatever we could to assist,’ but other than that, we don’t have any of the particulars, whether there’s any money there, or what rules are going to be, but I’m sure that the committee or the board will give us some guidelines on what it is.”