LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The students have spoken: Prospector Pete is out, and sharks are in.
After months-long voting process, students chose between sharks, stingrays, or no mascot at all in a final vote that ended on May 8. Sharks prevailed with 53 percent of the vote.
"It makes a lot of sense because we have a shark lab on campus and we do a lot of research with sharks," said Leen Almahdi, the Associated Students, Inc. Vice President.
In September 2018, Cal State Long Beach officially retired the university's mascot, Prospector Pete. The mascot was removed after criticism that Prospector Pete was offensive towards indigenous people.
Associated Students of CSULB led the initiative to replace the original mascot. A statue of Prospector Pete will remain on campus.
"The statue is still in the center of campus, but it will be moved to the new alumni center once that's built," said Associated Students, Inc. President and CEO, Genesis Jara.
Cal State Long Beach President Jane Close Conoley ratified the student vote on May 10, making the decision final.
"Since we do have the university president's approval in the process, we will be laying out a marketing plan in the coming year to form the identity of our new mascot," said Almahdi.
The students hope to align the university's new mascot with the work of a famous Cal State Long Beach alumnus.
"Steven Spielberg actually graduated from our university and it's exciting to know that the sharks are going to be our new mascot and there may be some correlation to that and Jaws," said Jara "It's definitely something we can use at sporting events, like the theme song. It's really exciting."