OXFORD, Miss. — University of Mississippi students are endorsing the landshark as the school’s new sidelines mascot.

In a statement Friday night, student government President Dion Kevin III said 81 percent of more than 4,100 students voted to replace the current black bear with the landshark.

University officials say the vote is advisory and doesn’t bind Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter, but administrators say they’re willing to listen.

Kevin says he hopes the vote is a “catalyst” to persuade the administration to make a change.

The nickname for athletic teams remains the Rebels, but Ole Miss retired Colonel Reb in 2003. Critics saw the bearded old man as reminiscent of a plantation owner.

Students endorsed the bear in 2010. The landshark comes from a celebratory hand signal Ole Miss athletes started using in 2008.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.