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George Washington U. student petition: Remove ‘offensive’ Colonial mascot

Here we go again: The 92-year-old George Washington University mascot known as the “Colonial” should be removed, a student petition says, because it is “offensive.”

The signatories want the Colonial replaced with … a hippo.

“The use of ‘Colonials,’ no matter how innocent the intention, is received as extremely offensive by not only students of the University, but the nation and world at large,” the petition reads. “The historically, negatively-charged figure of Colonials has too deep a connection to colonization and glorifies the act of systemic oppression.”

Other suggested replacements for the Colonial are the “Riverhorses” and the “Revolutionaries.”

If the petition gets 500 signatures, the Student Association will have to respond, according to The Hatchet. It currently is just two signatures shy of that figure.

Former Hatchet reporter Andrew Hesbacher, along with Rachel Yakobashvili and Emma Krasnopoler started the campaign after being warned at a study abroad orientation not to wear anything with “Colonial” on it outside of Europe.

“Citizens of those countries would be offended by the history of the word,” they were told.

From the story:

Hesbacher said because of the hippo’s long-standing history at GW, it wouldn’t be a stretch to change the mascot, and students have been talking about changing the mascot for years. But he said it was time to make the change a focus instead of a “side conversation.”

“Colonialist, terrorist, murderer. In a lot of places that’s what colonials mean to people,” Hesbacher said. “Why would we continue to call ourselves that?”

The movement’s organizers said they want to wait until they have a demonstration of student support to bring the issue to administrators. …

[Co-president of GW Students for Indigenous and Native American Rights Annabel] LaBrecque said she has spoken to students and faculty who have agreed the mascot is offensive to students, and she signed the petition on behalf of SINAR.

“The indigenous communities and their allies here just don’t feel welcomed,” she said.

Elyssa Clauson, an orientation leader for exchange students, says those coming from other countries “just kind of laugh at [the Colonial] like, ‘why is this your mascot, it’s kind of stupid.’”

Perhaps Clauson, Hesbacher, et. al. could brainstorm about how “Revolutionary” might be offensive to many students … say, those from China, Russia, Venezuela, and/or Cuba.

Read the full article.

MORE: Petition to change ‘Warrior’ mascot: ‘whites stole, raped, murdered’

MORE: HS students want ‘Millionaires’ mascot removed, say it’s offensive

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.