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Hanover High School mascot voting derailed by confusion, copycat logos

  • Zane Schiffman, assistant moderator of the Hanover High School Council, second from right, asks a procedural question during discussion of a proposed runoff election to determine the winning choice for a new school mascot in Hanover, N.H., on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, after ranked choice voting produced unclear results. The process began with 33 submissions from students and community members, but eight were either withdrawn or disqualified because they were determined not to be original work. The runoff would be between an image of a hawk or a bear that were the top two eligible designs. From left are council members Saia Patel, Pierce Siegne, Schiffman, and Riley McGuire. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — James M. Patterson

  • The former Hanover High School mascot, the Marauder, is displayed on the cover of an old soccer program in the school's office in Hanover, N.H., on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. The school council voted in March to abandon the Marauder and begin a search for a new mascot and logo. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Linda Addante, Hanover High School Council Executive, speaks in Hanover, N.H., on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, during discussion of a proposal for a runoff election to determine a winner for a new school mascot after ranked choice voting produced unclear results. Eight submissions on the ballot were either withdrawn or disqualified because they were determined not to be original work. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/3/2021 5:01:48 PM
Modified: 11/4/2021 9:37:19 PM

HANOVER — The debate over Hanover High School’s next mascot will continue for at least another week.

The new mascot was expected to be unveiled Wednesday morning at the Hanover High School Council weekly meeting. But among the 33 designs students and staff had voted on using ranked-choice voting for the five finalists — Bears, Hawks, Huskies, Maroon Crush and Trailblazers — eight violated the submission criteria of originality, including the logo that would have won the election, according to council leaders.

An ad hoc mascot committee had solicited mascot designs from students, alumni and families after the five finalists were announced. But designs that weren’t original could not be used, both to protect against possible copyright violations and because the committee wanted Hanover’s new logo to be unique.

At the meeting, the mascot committee and council leaders explained the situation and proposed a runoff election between the top two qualified designs, one for the Hawks and one for the Bears. The two logos were separated by just eight votes, and 62% of the 670 ballots submitted contained at least one of them among their top preferences.

An anonymous donor gave $70 to fund the runoff election, which would open Friday morning and close Tuesday afternoon, with the winner presented at next Wednesday’s meeting. But the motion for the runoff never reached a vote.

“What we’re debating right now is the motion on whether to do a runoff,” said senior Pierce Seigne, the council moderator. “If people don’t agree to do a runoff, we’ll have to determine something new.”

Chaos quickly ensued at the meeting as students voiced questions and concerns over the process and how the mascot committee came to its decision. Senior Zane Schiffman, the council’s assistant moderator, said the council had already decided that the winner of the vote would become the new mascot and logo, effective immediately.

Senior Alex Rockmore was also opposed to the runoff, saying it would be unfair to the 38% of voters who did not select either of the top two qualified logos. He suggested that students and staff should vote again among the 25 mascots designs that are still eligible.

At next week’s meeting, council members and other students will continue to debate the motion on the runoff, with the intention of bringing the motion to a vote before adjourning. The council was forced to adjourn this week after 50 minutes so students could get to their next class.

If the runoff motion fails, the council would have to go back to the drawing board for its next steps. One possibility would be to use ranked-choice voting again for the 25 still-eligible logos, but they also could decide to start the entire process over again and solicit new submissions for mascots and logos.

After the council overwhelmingly voted to remove the previous Marauder mascot in March, the mascot committee set a deadline of the end of the 2020-21 school year to determine a new mascot. Once they realized that was not realistic, the committee moved the deadline back to Thanksgiving break, and they will push the deadline back further if necessary.

“It’s an ad-hoc committee. It serves one purpose, then it dissolves,” Seigne said. “But we can extend that. We’ve already extended it. We might have to extend it again.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.


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