Sam the Ram needs to have an exorcism

A demonic presence lurks at FSU – its eyes vicious and predatory. As the bell tolls at the Ecumenical Center, the beast prowls through campus, its face contorted in a menacing grin.

The trigger for my fight-or-flight response, the physical manifestation of dread – I’m talking, of course, about our truly grotesque school mascot, Sam the Ram.

Sam the Ram may feel like a hallowed institution, but in Framingham’s 180-year history, Sam’s current design barely registers. Sam’s Twitter account @FSUSamTheRam, formed just six years ago, shows a more approachable – if somewhat sedated – looking ram.

Whenever I show present-day pictures of Sam to non-FSU students, meanwhile, I almost never fail to elicit gasps of horror.

Changing our mascot design may not seem like the most important issue, but given that Sam is one of the most prominent symbols of our school, it’s worth considering what impression a costume described variously as “creepy,” “ugly,” and “uncomfortable” by fellow students is sending. Break out the holy water, FSU – this ungodly creature doesn’t belong on our campus.

I’m sure devotees of Sam’s costume are out there, but I’ve yet to meet one thus far.

Senior Victoria Brown said, “I am terrified every single time I see him.”

“I feel like that’s a thing of nightmares,” sophomore Genesis Muniz said.

It’s understandable, in the drama of a high-stakes football game or hockey match, to want a mascot that sends shivers down a rival team’s spine – but off the field, where a large proportion of students run into Sam, this rationale falls flat.

We don’t want a dopey mascot, but an unsettling, hulking beast isn’t much better.

And yes, I know the cost of a new costume may feel hard to justify. The price of Sam’s current costume – available, oddly enough, on Amazon as “Rocky the Ram” – is listed at an eye-watering $1,299.

But given SGA’s purchase of 2,000 Sam-themed condoms in 2016, and last year’s debacle of the McCarthy TV screens, let’s not pretend Framingham wouldn’t be able to afford it.

The difference between these is that our mascot, unlike quickly disposed condoms and invariably overlooked screens, is constantly front-and-center in representing our University. It may not be saving lives, but letting students vote on a new costume is an investment that, if receptions are positive, will pay dividends in giving a good impression of our school.

Framingham, call the priests at the Ecumenical center – Sam the Ram needs to have an exorcism.

In the very least, he deserves a thorough makeover. We need to put our best faces forward – and anyways, I don’t have room for a crucifix in my backpack.