In light of recent concerns over symbols of the American confederacy, Nevada senator Harry Reid is urging UNLV to reconsider its nickname, the Runnin' Rebels, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Speaking in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Reid urged Nevada's Board of Regents to think about changing the school's team name.
"The university has used the "rebel" mascot since 1969, which was originally a wolf wearing a Confederate Army cap and uniform as the school mascot. Designed partially as a jab at the northern University of Nevada, Reno, it changed over to the current human mascot in 1983," an Associated Press report said.
Reid's comments come one week after nine African Americans were shot in a church in Charleston, S.C. The lead suspect in the shooting express racist views in the weeks and months leading up to the shooting, and the South Carolina state legislature Tuesday voted to consider taking down the Confederate flag currently flying on its state capitol grounds.
Nevada congressman Joe Heck responded to Reid's concerns by advising the senator concentrate on passage of the National Defense Authorization and Appropriation bill, which the White House has threatened to veto.
A spokesman from the Nevada System of Higher Education told the Daily Journal that any name change would have to originate from within UNLV in order to be approved.
- Will Green