George Washington University Announces New Moniker After Student Backlash
After nearly a century of use, George Washington University bowed to student demands, changing its moniker from “Colonials” to “Revolutionaries.”
“GW received approximately 47,000 points of feedback throughout its community engagement efforts, and Revolutionaries consistently ranked as the top choice throughout the moniker development process,” the Washington, D.C., university said in a press release.
George Washington University changed its “Colonials” moniker to “Revolutionaries” after facing scrutiny from students who deemed the school’s mascot as offensive.
NBC anchor and alumnus Chuck Todd helped reveal the new name Wednesday, scrapping the former centuries-old Colonials name the school was under since 1926.
The school committee received 8,000 suggestions and 47,000 points of feedback, narrowing it all down to the final 10 names that best fit, the school said in a press release.
George Washington was pressured to come up with a plan to dispel the Colonials’ name in 2018.
More than 530 students objected to the “extremely offensive” Colonials moniker and claimed it “has too deep a connection colonization and glorifies the act of systemic oppression.”
The school, based in Washington, D.C., will implement the new name during the 2023-24 academic year.
“This is an exciting day for the George Washington University Revolutionaries,” President Mark S. Wrighton said.
“A moniker must unify our community, draw people together, and serve as a source of pride. We look forward to the next steps in an inclusive process to identify a moniker that fulfills this aspiration,” board chair Grace Speights announced when the school initially told students they would change their name.
Students, alumni, and professors were interviewed in the name-reveal video to give their take on the new mascot name and show their “Revolutionaries” spirit.
“I like Revolutionaries because it references George Washington in a positive way,” alumni Jake Sherman said.
“It alludes to the original foundation of our country, and it has a modern application as well,” graduate student Desiree Winns added.
“Revolutionaries are bold, they embody creativity and passion. Revolutionaries are change-makers, they’re not content with the status quo,” Professor Monica Ruiz proudly voiced.
George Washington University’s mascot, “George”, will still remain as the school’s mascot, the university website stated.