School Decides to Drop 'Colonials' Name

George Washington students had campaigned for a moniker change
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2022 4:48 PM CDT
George Washington to Move Past 'Colonials' Era
George Washington University basketball players, Kimberly Beck, right, and Whitney Allen practice in 2008 in Washington.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

"A moniker must unify our community, draw people together and serve as a source of pride," a committee at George Washington University has written. The school's board of trustees has decided that "Colonials" flunks that test, the Hill reports, so a new nickname will be chosen. Students had called for a name change for years and had made some changes on their own, such as calling the student section at sporting events "George's Army" instead of the "Colonial Army," per the GW Hatchet. The university had used "Colonials" since 1926.

The committee's report said the term glorifies the people who stole land and from indigenous groups and brought slavery to the land. The definition is the domination and exploitation of a people or area by a foreign state, per USA Today. The committee noted that George Washington himself rejected the term, feeling that it "marked a provincial state of mind that he sought to discard in favor of a broader, more enlightened national and American perspective."

The Washington, DC, school formed a committee to consider a change, which it recommended last year. On Wednesday, the Board of Trustees agreed. "Colonials" will be used until a new name is chosen, which the school said should happen by the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year. Students have been collecting recommendations since 2018. (The area's NFL team also changed its name.)

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