UNLV removes Hey Reb! statue

statue bye bye
UNLV removed its controversial mascot Hey Reb! (Photo: Michael Lyle)
statue bye bye
UNLV removed its controversial mascot Hey Reb! (Photo: Michael Lyle)

Goodbye, Hey Reb!

After years of pushback over its controversial mascot, UNLV removed a statue of Hey Reb! Tuesday night.


In an email, UNLV President Marta Meana said she has had conversations with various groups on “how best the university can move forward given recent events throughout our nation.” In a mutual agreement, the donor of the statue and the university agreed to remove the mascot that until recently sat in front of the Tam Alumni Center.

Calls to remove the mascot have dogged the mascot for years.  Hey Reb! is believed by many to be a vestige of the southern Confederate iconography used by the university in earlier years as a contrast with UNR in the North. 

The university’s original mascot was a winking cartoon wolf mascot wearing a Confederate uniform and named after “Beauregard” the Confederate general who fired the first shots of the Civil War.

Protests nationwide have been ongoing since the death of George Floyd. While people have taken to the streets demanding police reforms and changes to the justice system, protesters have also used this moment to call out how racism has reverberated through all facets of American life.

Statues and monuments that have paid tribute to historic figures who’ve protected the institution of slavery or perpetuated genocide on indigenous people have been removed across the country. Some by elected officials while others have been forcefully removed by protesters.

For years, groups have argued whether Hey Reb! is likened from a confederate soldier.

Meana didn’t indicate what’s next for the mascot’s future but said the “frequency of those conversations has increased in recent weeks, and I will have more to share with campus once the listening tour is complete.”

Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.