UNLV removed the "Hey Reb!" statue from its campus on Tuesday night, and the university could change its mascot from the Rebels in the coming weeks.
"In our recent conversations with the donor, we mutually agreed it was best to remove the statue and return it," UNLV president Marta Meana said in a statement on Tuesday. "Over the past few months, I have had discussions with multiple individuals and stakeholder groups from campus and the community on how best the university can move forward given recent events throughout our nation. That includes the future of our mascot."
UNLV's mascot has been the Rebels since the 1950s when the school was an extension of the University of Nevada, Reno. UNLV's website said the mascot's creation was "based in rivalry in fun," though "the choice of a Confederate-themed mascot was nonetheless an unfortunate one."
A Change.org petition to change UNLV's mascot has gained over 4,000 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.
"UNLV's current mascot, the Rebel' is racist and is rooted in a Confederate mythology which has no place on our campus," the petition says. "Having a mascot that is inextricably connected to a failed regime whose single aim was to preserve the institution of slavery is an embarrassment to our campus and to our community."