According to anonymous sources, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has a secret committee for its new school mascot.
The student, who wished to remain anonymous, said he overheard from someone that the university was searching for a new mascot and the all of the members on the committee signed NDAs.
The student named two members of the committee: Jennifer LeMeunier, executive director for Alumni at UL Lafayette and Leslie Saloom associate director of trademark licensing for Marketing and Communications.
“The two names that came up were Leslie Saloom and Jennifer (LeMeunier) but we would also understand that it would most likely also have Lauren Sarver on it since she is the director of orientation,” the anonymous student said. “And she held the original (bulldog mascot) dogs and her mom did.”
Leslie Saloom was unable to comment on the committee or mascot because of her signed NDA.
The student said UL Lafayette isn’t doing its main consumers, the students, favor with the secret committee.
“It sucks because the students are the primary consumers of the university,” he said. “Students have a vested investment into the institution.”
The anonymous student said he thinks at this point, athletics has become a little desperate, adding he’d like to see more people at the football games because it changes the atmosphere at Cajun Field on Saturdays.
“Because I’ve been to football games where there is nobody there and when the players see that, they play like c—,” he said. “And if they have a lot more people in the student section hyping them up, they play a lot differently.”
The last mascot for UL Lafayette was Cayenne, according to ragincajuns.com.
“A Ragin’ Cajun is not a person or an animal, but a feeling that describes our unique way of life,” the website said. “It describes our hot and spicy food and unique music. For this, the students picked a pepper and named it Cayenne.”
Cayenne does not replace any characters who represented the university throughout its 100-year history, the website read, adding, Cayenne embodies the Ragin’ Cajun spirit of Acadiana.
“Cayenne is unique,” the website said. “Cayenne is a spirit leader that kids can hug.” “The University needed a spirit leader that can represent the Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns to a national audience.”
But Cayenne hasn’t been replaced even though there were plans for something new.
In July 2017, Director of Athletics, Bryan Maggard, Ph.D., tweeted a decision on a new mascot will be made within two years.
“(The decision on a new mascot) Will be an institutional decision with athletics having a seat at the table,” Maggard tweeted. “Anticipate 12-24 months before finalized.”
Another student who wished to remain anonymous said she heard about the secret committee from Amy Windsor, social media strategist for UL Lafayette.
“Amy Windsor who runs social media told the team that there was a committee that was put together for a new mascot,” she said.
The anonymous students said the discontinuation of the mascot wasn’t publized at all
“Amy told the media team there was no official mention of Cayenne at all,” she said.
Windsor had no comment on the discontinuation of Cayenne or the new mascot.
“I don’t know what’s going on with the mascot,” Windsor said.
The anonymous student did say three ideas for the new mascot were mentioned with the committee:
“I can’t remember where I heard this, but the top-three they were considering were a bulldog, a pelican and a gator,” she said.
She added she heard multiple levels of people talk about the bulldog as if it was going to become a thing.
“It would have ‘Ragin’ Cajun’ in front of it, so like, ‘Ragin’ Cajun Bulldog,’” she said.
Charlie Bier, communications specialist at UL Lafayette, released a statement.
“A mascot is a valuable aspect of UL Lafayette’s school spirit and tradition,” Bier said in a statement. “There is no timeline for determining what the university’s mascot would be, but any decision related to a mascot would be made after campus-wide input.”