George Washington University narrows down choices to replace Colonials moniker

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George Washington University has come down to its final four.

No, it does not have anything to do with the men’s or women’s NCAA Basketball Tournaments but rather the school’s new nickname as it inches further and further away from the Colonials. The school announced last week it as down to four possibilities.

Ambassadors, Blue Flog, Revolutionaries and Sentinels were named as potential replacements for Colonials. The school will hear feedback from students, faculty, staff and alumni on the final four nickname options.

“It has been energizing to see so many members of the GW community participate in the development of our new moniker,” Ellen Moran, the school’s vice president for communications and marketing, said in a news release. “As we begin this next phase of feedback, I hope all GW community members continue joining us in this deliberate and thoughtful process for developing the new moniker.”

The George Washington Colonials logo on the floor before an Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Tournament – First Round college basketball game against the Richmond Spiders at the Smith Center on March 3, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Last June, the school’s board of trustees and a special committee determined the name Colonials “can no longer service its purpose as a name that unifies.”

The school said the process to change the name began in 2019, adding the special committee “found that the Colonials moniker does not adequately match the values of GW and can no longer serve its purpose as a name that unifies the community.”

Additionally, the committee said when the nickname was adopted in 1926, those who chose it lacked “thoughtful university-wide consideration.”

The committee outlined why those who favored the nickname supported it, saying it was a term for those who lived in the American colonies before the U.S. became independent and for those who fought for independence. The committee said that for those who opposed it, “Colonials means colonizers who stole land and resources from Indigenous groups, killed or exiled Native peoples and introduced slavery into the colonies.”


The committee said George Washington “firmly rejected” the term colonial, and the term itself “was not used during the 1607-1776 Colonial era, and it did not become popular until the Colonial Revival period of the late 19th and 20th centuries.”

“The board recognizes the significance of changing the university’s moniker, and we made this decision only after a thoughtful and deliberate process that followed the renaming framework and special committee recommendation that considered the varying perspectives of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and athletics community,” board Chairperson Grace Speights said in a statement. 

“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.”

The moniker came under fire in 2019 after a student-led petition surfaced calling for the nickname to be changed. The nickname Colonials is “extremely offensive by not only students of the university, but the nation and world at large,” the petition said.

A new nickname will be unveiled before the start of the 2023-24 academic school year.

Over the last few years, pro sports teams and colleges have been under pressure to change their nicknames over objections.

Proponents of the Colonials nickname have argued it as a word that defined Americans during the British Colonial era, according to The New York Times. With opponents view it as a name having to do with violent colonizers.

The George Washington Colonials logo on their uniform against the Massachusetts Minutemen during the Second Round of the 2022 Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Tournament at Capital One Arena on March 10, 2022 in Washington, D.C.

The George Washington Colonials logo on their uniform against the Massachusetts Minutemen during the Second Round of the 2022 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Tournament at Capital One Arena on March 10, 2022 in Washington, D.C. (G Fiume/Getty Images)

Multiple sports teams have changed their names in recent years. The Washington Redskins changed to the Washington Football Team and then to the Washington Commanders. The Cleveland Indians changed to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers altered Herbie Husker to separate itself from an alleged White supremacy link. PETA called on baseball to change the name of the bullpen to “arm barn.” Quidditch leagues sought to change the name of their sport to break from “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling. Even the Texas Rangers were called on to change their name.

Source: Fox News

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