Story by Kim Felder
Reprinted with permission from the February 11, 2008 issue of the UT Dallas Mercury
A survey revealed that students, faculty and staff want to remain the Comets, but bid farewell to Temoc.
Comet was heavily favored with 45 percent of the 6129 voters choosing that option.
From those who chose Comets for the UTD nickname, 47 percent want the depiction of the mascot to be a comet, but not in the form of Temoc - 30 percent preferred Temoc remain mascot while 23 percent preferred an unrelated depiction.
The other nickname options are the Hawks, which received 24 percent of the vote, Knights received 23 percent and Coyotes, which had 8 percent.
The participants of the survey included 3076 undergraduates, 1259 alumni, 951 graduates and 843 faculty/staff members.
The online survey was constructed so that a person could only vote once, Michael Coleman, Associate Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education, said. The individual's vote is linked to their net ID and IP Address, so that once a vote is placed it can not be changed and the person cannot vote again.
Coleman said he agreed with the majority vote and prefers the Comets as the nickname, partly because the other options were not unique.
"The problem with the knights is that there are too many Knights here already," Coleman said. "Northwood University are the Knights, University of Dallas are the Crusaders, but they have knights as their mascot and Mary-Harden Baylor is also a knight, so that just seemed confusing."
"I expected the Comets to win," Student Government (SG) president Ben Dower said. "There's people on the [Mascot]committee who aren't necessarily going to be happy with what the majority felt was best."
The function of the committee, Dower said, is to do things that you can't do with 15,000 people, but will reflect the general consensus. Once the committee narrows things down it can then be taken back to the constituents who can then vote.
"At some point you just have to settle with the idea that you're not going to please everyone," Dower said. "The fact that we're going to be looking at other Comets and then going back to the students with some designs says that we taken their input very seriously."
Vice President for Student affairs Darrelene Rachavong said that she is surprised that Comets won by such a large margin.
"Of course, changing a mascot in itself does not cause school spirit to suddenly happen," she said. "However, I think the process we are going through is allowing the whole campus community to have some ownership of our mascot and that is important for building community which in the long run is about spirit."
The change in mascot may be more for the next generation of UTD students, Dower said.
Rachavong said she hopes to have a new mascot ready to be introduced at Convocation and Welcome Week in August.