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Common hand gesture used at Utah university needs to go, students say

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Logan, UT (KSL) — There’s a hand signal Utah State University students often use to show their support for their Aggies — but the same sign means something completely different to one group of students. They say it’s offensive and they’re calling for change.

At Matt Cerar’s first basketball game last year, he was shocked, and it had nothing to do with the scoreboard.

“When I saw that the first time … for me, in my language, it has another meaning,” he said.

Cerar is a graduate student in USU’s well-known deaf education program. He said the current symbol for school spirit — a hand gesture in which the thumbs and index fingers are brought together, forming a diamond shape, with the pinkie fingers of both hands extended — is simply unacceptable.

“It’s supposed to be representing an ‘A’ for Aggies, and then they’ve added the horns at the end with the pinkies,” Cerar explained.

In American Sign Language, the sign is a technical reference to female anatomy.

“As a person who uses ASL, I thought that it wasn’t appropriate and I thought that we needed to change that,” Cerar said.

So, he took matters into his own hands and began spreading his message across social media. The response, so far, has been positive.

“If you read through the comments you can see there’s overwhelming support from people who want the new sign,” Cerar said.

KSL News tried to get a comment from USU administrators Monday night, but they were not available. Cerar said he’s had meetings with the student athletic organization about changing the Aggies horns sign, and they were welcoming to the change and are planning to promote it to students.

Cerar’s goal, he said, is to educate, inform and make a change for the better for his Aggie fans.

“I feel like we can make a big change, and start now.”