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Elite university changes student government’s ‘SA’ acronym to avoid triggering students

George Washington University’s Board of Trustees has approved a request to rename the school’s Student Association to Student Government Association.

The reason is because the acronym for Student Association — or SA — might upset or confuse some students because it stands for sexual assault in some circles. With the new name, the acronym will be SGA.

The student government of the elite, Washington D.C.-based school had sent an official request in October for trustees to allow the name change and the campus leaders gave their stamp of approval in an unanimous vote Friday, the GW Hatchet student newspaper reported.

The student government vice president said the move takes the association away from an acronym that was “offensive and hurtful” to campus members, the Hatchet reported.

In October, when the issue was discussed at length, another reason given for the name change was because some student senators “also said they were concerned the SA acronym shares the same abbreviation of the Nazi Sturmabteilung — a Nazi paramilitary organization whose violent enforcement of party norms contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler,” the Hatchet reported at the time.

This is not the first time GWU students have led an effort to change tradition due to sensitivity concerns, with leaders acquiescing.

In 2022, the university dumped its “Colonials” nickname because it upset some students. Some had argued the Colonials nickname has “too deep a connection to colonization and glorifies the act of systemic oppression.”

As for the controversial SA acronym, as The College Fix previously reported, it can have many, many meanings:

— Saudi Arabia (subjugation of women, poor human rights record)
— Substance abuse (triggering)
— South Africa (can bring up memories of apartheid)
— Small arms (glorification of guns)
— Swiss Army (connection to knives, weaponry)
— Sex appeal (who decides what’s “sexy”? Connections to white supremacist/majority culture)
— Social anxiety (triggering to the neurodivergent)
— Salvation Army (politically incorrect views re: LGBTQ community)
— Suicide attempt (triggering)
— Sleep apnea (triggering)

MORE: GWU student government wants conservative group suspended for ‘transphobic’ tweets

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.