Hundreds of students petition against NKU's new mascot - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Hundreds of students petition against NKU's new mascot

New mascot (Credit: NKU) New mascot (Credit: NKU)
Old mascot (Credit: NKU) Old mascot (Credit: NKU)
NORTHERN KENTUCKY (FOX19) -

A change at Northern Kentucky University is causing quite an uproar. Some students say they don't like the new look of the school mascot, so they are signing a petition asking the university to change it back.

The mascot representing the NKU Norse is named Victor E. Viking. He was once labeled by ESPN.com as one of the most frightening Division 1 mascots.

"They said that the old Victor was scaring children," Jonathan Keith, who graduated from NKU, says. 

This year, Victor got a makeover. His braids disappeared, his eyes softened and his mouth is now in a more obvious smile.

"I was really shocked that they wanted to change it," Keith says.

NKU's Assistant Athletic Director Brandon Hays says the university sent out surveys asking for feedback related to the mascot. He says ultimately, the mascot's new look came as part of a brand update that called for a friendlier face.

Keith says the old Victor E. Viking's fierce spirit is what made him so great.

"Vikings were a very ferocious and tenacious kind of culture, and that's what kind of culture we have at NKU," Keith says. "We have some of the best and brightest minds here."

It's that feeling of pride that inspired hundreds of current and former NKU students to sign an online petition that Keith started.

They're asking the university to bring back the Victor costume that they say they've grown to love.

Hays' response is that university leaders are listening and are excited about how passionate the fans are when it comes to the mascot. He says they have been having meetings about it and plan to address the situation in the coming days.

Hays says they hope to come up with a specific plan that ensures the students' voices are heard.

Right now, Keith's petition has nearly 400 signatures.

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