Price of UNLV logos sure has experienced inflation

New UNLV logo. (R-J pix)

This week UNLV unveiled a new logo that has people scratching their heads over what it is supposed to be and what it cost — $50,000.

The comments on social media have ranged from “What is it????? It kind of looks like a folded pile of clothes with a cowboy hat” to “It’s a dog’s breakfast.”

A version of this logo first appeared in 1982

Lest we forget, the current logo was designed by illustrator Mike Miller — an advertising agency exec and longtime contributor to the morning newspaper — and sold to UNLV in 1982 for the princely sum of $1.

“It seemed at the time the right thing to do,” Miller said of giving the university exclusive rights to use the character. “I was trying to be a good community citizen and a friend of the university.”

The logo was supposed to represent an exploring mountain man rather than the previous mascot incarnations as a Confederate soldier, which the university was trying to shed.

After Miller’s death in 2014, UNLV reposted a 2011 story about the history of Hey Reb!

That story quoted Miller as saying, “Pathfinders were severely independent people who went all around the West looking for new trails, agriculture, gold mining, and everything.”

He said rugged men ventured into uncharted Nevada, mapping trails, discovering new resources, and building new communities. “I don’t think anyone really understands this until you look at the streets downtown,” said Miller, before naming off Carson, Ogden, Bonneville, Lewis and Clark, all streets named after famous frontiersmen.

He said his children gave him a hard time about giving away the valuable logo for a dollar.

Artist Mike Miller poses with the UNLV mascot he helped create and members of the cheerleading team in 2011. (Aaron Mayes/UNLV Photo Services)


Editorial: Lawmakers should repeal football stadium funding

Lawmakers were summoned this past fall to Carson City and asked to pitch in $750 million toward financing a $1.9 billion domed football stadium that would house the Oakland Raiders and the UNLV football program.

The Raiders and the NFL would add $500 million to the pot and Las Vegas casino and newspaper owner Sheldon Adelson’s family would tip in another $650 million.

Since then Adelson has walked away from the deal, taking his money. He was miffed at the fact the Raiders’ owner never told him before hand about a proposed lease agreement with the stadium authority that legislators created to handle the “publicly owned” stadium.

The lease proposal envisions the Raiders paying $1 a year in rent, and the team owners pocketing all revenue from tickets, events, naming rights, etc., as well as having total control over the use of the stadium by UNLV and the Las Vegas Bowl.

“In addition to being discouraged by the surprise submission, I was deeply disappointed for the disregard the Raiders showed our community partners, particularly UNLV, through the proposed agreement,” Adelson said in a statement given to his Las Vegas newspaper. “It was certainly shocking to the Adelson family,” the statement also said. “We were not only excluded from the proposed agreement; we weren’t even aware of its existence. … It’s clear the Raiders have decided their path for moving to Las Vegas does not include the Adelson family. So, regrettably, we will no longer be involved in any facet of the stadium discussion.”

It is high time lawmakers, now meeting in regular session, reconsider the state’s commitment of room tax money to this harebrained, half-baked scheme to enrich billionaires.

Instead of sticking tourists with a 0.88 percent hike in the room tax, lawmakers should let them keep that money to spend on food, drink and gambling, which net nearly 10 times as much in tax revenue.

Sam Boyd, where there are more people on the field than in the stands.

Sam Boyd, where there are more people on the field than in the stands.

Now, we are reticent to suggest that the proponents of this stadium deal are so Machiavellian as to have plotted this from the start, but …

Lawmakers should note that there is no stadium price tag in the bill they passed, and the stadium backers flatly refused to consider capping public funding at 39 percent of the cost of construction. It was $750 million or no deal. The cost of the stadium when first proposed was a mere $1 billion. It ratcheted up from there. What is to stop the Raiders from building a $1 billion stadium, tapping the taxpayers for three-quarters of the tab and getting the state to make the estimated $900 million in road improvements needed to access the stadium?

Besides, does UNLV really need a new football stadium, when it can’t fill the one it has? One that has adequate traffic access off a major freeway and abundant parking. Why is there a need for a stadium on or near the campus, when 93 percent of students live off campus? And never mind the problems it might create for air traffic into McCarran International Airport.

A stadium is a liability, not an asset. It is an insatiable maw that swallows tax money in perpetuity.

The Kingdome in Seattle was repaired in 1994, costing more than $50 million in 20-year bonds, which were paid off in 2015. The stadium was imploded in 2000.

Renovate Sam Boyd Stadium if that is needed and forget this domed stadium boondoggle. If Adelson can take a hike, so can the state.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

State should pull the plug on funding football stadium

Casino and newspaper owner Sheldon Adelson walked away from the proposed $1.9 billion domed stadium and took his $650 million with him. The state of Nevada should renege on its $750 million commitment.

Sheldon Adelson

If Adelson can’t make a suitable deal with Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis to move the team to Las Vegas, what makes anyone think UNLV will be able to deal with him and get a fair share of playing time and money from the stadium, should it ever really get built?

Adelson apparently was miffed that the Raiders handed the new stadium authority a lease deal without consulting him. “In addition to being discouraged by the surprise submission, I was deeply disappointed for the disregard the Raiders showed our community partners, particularly UNLV, through the proposed agreement,” Adelson’s said in a statement given to his Las Vegas newspaper.

“It was certainly shocking to the Adelson family,” the statement also said. “We were not only excluded from the proposed agreement; we weren’t even aware of its existence. … It’s clear the Raiders have decided their path for moving to Las Vegas does not include the Adelson family. So, regrettably, we will no longer be involved in any facet of the stadium discussion.”

Under the proposed lease the NFL team would pay$1 a year for the stadium and would keep all the revenue from concessions, events, naming, etc. Uses by UNLV and the annual Las Vegas Bowl would be subject to the whims of the Raiders.

Reportedly Goldman Sachs stands ready to step into the fray and pick up the funding gap left by Adelson’s departure. Reportedly. ESPN is reporting the Goldman Sachs is re-evaluating its role in the deal.

That $750 million in room tax money could be spent on more worthwhile endeavors, including a less ostentatious football stadium for UNLV. It would also mean the state would not have to spend $900 million in road improvements for the stadium. Lawmakers meet in Carson City in a week or so and bill draft could ready for them when they arrive.

Adelson’s sports columnist speculated that other NFL team owners did not want an unsavory casino owner dabbling in their pristine pastime, or, just perhaps, they did not want to associate with someone whose company has paid $16 million in fines to the feds in the past year over allegations of bribery involving overseas operations.

How long will it take for that little italicized disclaimer at the bottom of stories about the stadium to disappear, just as Adelson has? And what will be the paper’s editorial stance on the stadium proposal?


Your tax dollars in action: So much time and ink spilled over non-issue at UNLV

rebel (n) one who resists authority or convention.

Illustrator Mike Miller with his creation Hey Reb!

Isn’t it just a bit ironic that UNLV would spend five months creating a 60-page document combatting the forces of political correctness who blanch and quake at the notion the school’s mascot — Hey Reb! — and athletic team name — Rebels — and school newspaper name — Rebel Yell — are in some way derivative of the appellation applied to supporters of the Confederacy, which is turn has come to imply some racial pejorative. At least that is the current conventional way of thinking.

Nearly two weeks ago the university’s Associate Vice President for diversity Initiatives & Chief Diversity Officer Rainier Spencer dropped his hefty tome titled “Report on UNLV Rebels Nickname and Hey Reb! Mascot” on campus President Len Jessop, though the newspaper is just now getting around to reporting on this tremulous topic today with a banner headline proclaiming “UNLV diversity chief: Hey Reb! mascot, Rebel nickname not tied to Confederacy.”

The whole thing started in June with a flippant comment by Sen. Harry Reid following a shooting in a black church in South Carolina by young man who had once posed for a photo with a Confederate battle flag. “I believe that the Board of Regents should take that up and take a look at it,” Reid said when asked about the UNLV nicknames.

That started the snowball rolling downhill.

Spencer, who received $171,000 in pay and benefits in 2014 and is surely up for a raise due to completing this yeoman’s task, came to the doublethink conclusion that Rebels and Hey Reb! are in no way symbols of the benighted Confederacy but the name of the newspaper is.

This exhaustive investigation includes this hilarious examination of the etymology of the term Rebel Yell and the rationale for seeking a change in the name:

“In that connection, I am currently in talks with the newspaper’s advisory board about changing the name to something else. Even Yell and Yellin’ Rebel are problematic since they both invoke the idea of a rebel yell, which Penn State English Professor Craig Warren’s new book (The Rebel Yell: A Cultural History), describes as ‘the ugliest sound that any mortal ever heard;’ and that ‘unnerved Union soldiers, who heard the threat before they could pinpoint its direction.’ Even though Warren’s book notes that both Billy Idol’s 1983 song ‘Rebel Yell,’ and ‘subsequent pop-culture references to the Rebel yell — a clothing line, a video game — also stripped it of a Civil War context, choosing to embrace a spirit of general rebelliousness,’ it seems to me that moving the name of the student newspaper away from anything having to do at all with the word ‘yell,’ while retaining Rebel if desired, is a necessary and positive step. As the only remaining vestige of the April 20, 1955 imposition of Confederate symbols onto the already existing Rebels identity (again, one that the university administration does not control), it should be removed. It would perhaps be a good exercise for UNLV students to choose a new name for their newspaper.”

But a two-month “Listening Exercise” in which Spencer met with 15 campus groups prompted the diversity chief to conclude “the Rebels identity and nickname must be maintained. I take pains to add that I do mean to write ‘must be maintained,’ as opposed to ‘should be maintained.’ The support for Rebels as an identity and nickname, while not unanimous, was broad, intense, and very deep.”

Isn’t this the definition of an “academic” exercise? One that is purely theoretical and has no practical application whatsoever?

Haven’t we been down this freeway before? Oh yes, in 2009 UNLV’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion drafted a memo titled “Policy on Bias Incidents and Hate Crimes.”

Here is an excerpt from a blog I wrote at the time:

Let’s let the policy speak for itself. Here is the definition of a bias incident:

“A.  ‘Bias Incidents’ refers to verbal, written, or physical acts of intimidation, coercion, interference, frivolous claims, discrimination, and sexual or other harassment motivated, in whole or in part, by bias based on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, religion, creed, sex (including gender identity or expression, or a pregnancy related condition), sexual orientation, national origin, military status or military obligations, disability (including veterans with service-connected disabilities), age, marital status, physical appearance, political affiliation, or on the basis of exercise of rights secured by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Got that? You can call the campus cops if someone makes a frivolous claim about you exercising your First Amendment rights.

If you think that is rich, wrap your mind around this footnote explaining just what “physical appearance” is covered: “Personal appearance means the outward appearance of any person, irrespective of sex, with regard to bodily condition or characteristics, manner or style of dress, and manner or style of personal grooming, including, but not limited to, hair style and beards.”

So, if the mustachioed Hey Reb! wearing a gray hat offends you, tough it out, dude.

Academic self-examination is at least good for comic relief.


Don’t send them to college, send them to boot camp

Send them to boot camp instead of college.

So, 200 simpering children — out of an enrollment of nearly 30,000 — spent six hours browbeating top administrators at UNLV about how neglected they are, how there aren’t enough diversity programs and minority services, multiculturalism and enough professors with adequate levels of melanin in their thin skins.

These kids don’t need a college education. They need boot camp.

Boot camp is intended to intimidate everyone down to the same level of quivering sameness, stripping away individualism and diversity until a shouted order is obeyed instinctively. There may be a few tears, but they are justified. In the end, you get someone who can actually do something, as well as being about to endure physically and mentally in a real world.

But no, according to the newspaper, UNLV President Len Jessop was accused of not caring enough for his sensitive charges until he apologized for “not listening enough.” The reporter described him as “visibly exhausted.”

This is what universities are becoming — little enclaves of jangling, raw nerves crying to be stroked and soothed.

That’s why it is no surprise that a Pew Research Center survey found that younger people are of the belief that government should be able to prevent people from making offensive statements about minorities. First Amendment be folded, spindled and mutilated.

Fully 28 percent of those surveyed believed this but the younger one is the greater the embrace. Of Millennnials — 18 to 34 — 40 percent bought into this nonsense, while Gen Xers (27 percnet) and Boomers (24 percent) and so-called Silents (only 12 percent).

There was also partisan gulf. “Nearly twice as many Democrats say the government should be able to stop speech against minorities (35%) compared with Republicans (18%),” the survey found, along with a gender gap. “One-third of all women say the government should be able to curtail speech that is offensive to minorities vs. 23% of men who say the same.”

Surprisingly, considering the campus whining of late from Missouri to Yale, there also was an education gap, with those more educated being less likely to embrace government censorship.

We all are minorities of one. Stop trying to pigeon hole everyone into groups that all think alike.


Harry calls for changes in symbols, some of which he has ignored for four decades

In remarks on the Senate floor today Sen. Harry Reid said in prepared remarks:

It is unfathomable that even as the community of Charleston grapples with the devastation of this hateful act, African-American men and women have to walk underneath a confederate flag when they step on the grounds of the South Carolina State House in Columbia. The confederate flag is a symbol of the dark past from which our country has come. It does not and it should not represent our values or the way we treat our fellow Americans.

It is a symbol of slavery and white-supremacy. There is no other way to explain it. It often flew high as vile organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan torched African-American churches. This symbol of the past has no place atop buildings that govern Americans. It’s just not who we are. This flag should be removed and removed now.

Earlier he said on the Senate floor:

I find it stunning that the NFL is more concerned about how much air is in a ball than with a racist franchise name that denigrates Native Americans across our country. The Redskins name is a racist name.  So I wish the Commissioner would act as swiftly and decisively in changing the name of the Washington, D.C. team, as he did enforcing how much air is in the football.

This is the same Harry Reid who praised former KKK leader Robert Byrd with a glowing memorial upon his death.

This the same Harry Reid who has not said anything about his hometown university teams being called the Rebels and having a mascot called Hey Reb, until today.

According to an AP story posted at the Las Vegas Sun website, Reid told reporters in Washington, D.C., that Nevada’s Board of Regents should consider changing the mascot and sports team name. The name has been around since 1969. Took him awhile.


Photo of Hey Reb from the UNLV campus newspaper The Rebel Yell.


Still looking for Mr. Good Read and the zipless give a (flip)

Back in the Olden Days when I went to journalism school, I was taught that every story should have a WSIGAD — Why Should I Give a Damn? (pronounced wizzygad) — sentence or paragraph.

Despite the repeated use of the highly pejorative terms scandal and plagiarism, I’m still looking for some explanation as to why anyone should give a damn about the nearly daily stories in the local newspaper about whether some university bureaucrat might have prematurely lifted parts from a draft report from a think tank for use in a request to a legislative interim committee seeking funding for educational programs in science, technology, engineering and math. Whew.

According to today’s iteration, “Some regents are troubled by the allegations, while others feel the controversy is overblown.” Mostly overblown apparently, if you actually read the entire story.

From what I can make out, apparently both the Nevada System of Higher Education and the Brookings Mountain West — which describes itself as a partnership between UNLV and the “prestigious” Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution— were working on how to argue with lawmakers to land some grants for STEM education and sharing information, but someone at Brookings was miffed when language from a draft showed up verbatim in a communique with lawmakers.

Ivory tower egos at 10 paces. Ready, aim, spit.

A Brookings lecture from the Brookings Mountain West website.