PULLMAN, Wash. -- Students at Washington State University are protesting Latino inspired masks that were given out during Thursday night’s football game at Martin Stadium.
Students of the organization Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan said the masks are inspired by Lucha Libre, which is a form of professional wrestling in Spanish-speaking countries. The group said this is a blatant exploitation of the Latino culture.
Members of M.E.Ch.A said the masks are “culturally insensitive and demonstrate cultural appropriation at an institutional level.” They said Luchador masks are an important symbol to the Latino community. They do not believe this symbol should be used as “a marketing gimmick.”
The group also started a petition to stop the distribution of the masks. They received at least 100 signatures.
The issue went before the WSU Student Government Organization and the Student Senate passed a resolution against cultural appropriations asking the university to strengthen its policies on approval of licensed products that contain the WSU logo.
The WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos told the group "after careful thought and consideration, I have decided to proceed with the Cougador promotion." An athletic department Official said it found the mask to be very successful at other stadiums and venues and thought WSU fans and students would enjoy it.
The university wwas set to give out 7,500 “Cougador” masks at the game against Arizona State University.
Here is a report in the student newspaper, the Daily Evergreen.