At the beginning of the month, the University of Cincinnati (UC) announced that its iconic bearcat statue would be going into storage. Now, students are fighting to keep the statue in its place until graduation.
As the news was released, Sydney Ford, a current UC student, began a petition to keep the “symbolic statue” on campus through this semester’s set graduation date.
On Jan. 31, UC announced to students that the bearcat statue, which sits in front of Fifth Third Arena, will be heading into storage ahead of the construction process of UC Athletics’ new indoor practice facility.
The statue is scheduled to go to storage on March 6 and not be visible on campus again until the construction project is completed in the summer of 2025. For students, this means that graduating seniors will not be able to take a traditional graduation picture in front of the statue.
“We understand, as a school, that construction has to occur. However, we strongly oppose that this change happens before graduation,” Ford said in the petition. “It is very important to all of us to have this symbolic statue present during our graduation to represent our pride and commitment to this school.”
As of now, the petition has the support of nearly 200 students and community members who believe that the bearcat should stay in place through graduation, which is currently scheduled for April 27 to April 29.
One of those signers, Eliza Angelo – a third-year dual major in operations management and international business – believes that instead of moving the statue to storage, it should be put somewhere else on campus during the construction period, like Sigma Sigma Commons or in the space across from the UCPD office in Edwards.
“The statue needs to be moved twice anyway under the current plan; once to storage and once from storage,” Angelo said. “Instead of those two moves, the statue should move to another campus location and then back to its original place.”
Other commenters felt a similar sentiment. “Let the seniors take their grad pics,” said one reply. “Why don't they just relocate it?” said another.
“From this petition, you will discover students that are passionate about our Bearcat statue and agree with these statements,” Ford said. “We appreciate your time and consideration to make the end of our time at The University of Cincinnati memorable.”
Ford was unavailable for comment.
“I feel like the statue is an iconic part of the UC landscape and should be accessible for UC graduates and students,” Angelo said. “I hope the university will see that this is a way to hear student voices and still keep the statue somewhere more feasible.”