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UI professor worried “angry” Herky mascot promotes aggression and violence

IOWA CITY, IA - SEPTEMBER 06:  Mascot Herky the Hawk of the Iowa Hawkeyes walks across the field during the first quarter against the Ball State Cardinals on September 6, 2014 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.  (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

IOWA CITY, IA - SEPTEMBER 06: Mascot Herky the Hawk of the Iowa Hawkeyes walks across the field during the first quarter against the Ball State Cardinals on September 6, 2014 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

IOWA CITY — Is Herky the Hawk too mean and scary for the delicate sensibilities of incoming freshmen? At least one member of the University of Iowa faculty thinks so, according to a story published in the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

The professor in question is Resmiye Oral, a clinical professor of pediatrics at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. In an email distributed to other members of the UI Faculty sent Aug. 23, she expressed concern about the mascot’s angry, fixed grin.

““I believe incoming students should be met with welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages,” Oral wrote. “And our campus community is doing a great job in that regard when it comes to words. However, Herky’s angry, to say the least, faces conveying an invitation to aggressivity and even violence are not compatible with the verbal messages that we try to convey to and instill in our students and campus community.”

Oral told the Press-Citizen that she “has been concerned for some time with the lack of emotional variety” displayed in the images of Iowa’s long-time mascot.

“I would like to bring to the Faculty Senate’s attention that the attached Herky images are totally against the nonviolent, all accepting, nondiscriminatory messages we are trying to convey through campus,” Oral wrote in the email to her fellow senate members, referring to images of Herky used in posters and fliers posted around campus to welcome new students.

The newspaper reached out to Faculty Senate officials, who said they are not currently “focused specifically on how Herky is depicted.”