GW University Students Vote to Change 'Colonials' Moniker Because Systemic Oppression or Something

"George", the George Washington University Colonials' mascot. Screen grab via Discover GW.
“George”, the George Washington University Colonials’ mascot. Screen grab via Discover GW.

Earlier this month, I wrote about the ongoing campaign some students at George Washington University had been waging since last spring to change their “Colonials” moniker.


The reason why? They found the name offensive and oppressive. The petition that started circulating last year stated:

“We, as students, faculty, and staff of the George Washington University, believe it is of great exigence that the university changes the official nickname for its affiliates. The use of ‘Colonials,’ no matter how innocent the intention, is received as extremely offensive by not only affiliates of the university, but the nation and world at large. The historically, negatively charged figure of Colonials has too deep a connection to colonization and glorifies the act of systemic oppression.”

When last we left you, the Student Association approved a resolution in late February allowing for a student referendum on “whether or not the Colonials moniker is one that represents GW students.”

Well, they have voted and as a result, the “Colonials” name is going bye bye:

Students also voted narrowly in favor of a controversial referendum calling on GW to abandon the Colonials nickname, with 54 percent of voters supporting the effort. The issue has been hotly contested since students launched a petition last spring calling on the University to choose a new nickname, which garnered more than 500 supporters.

In a Fox News piece on the issue written a few weeks before the vote was scheduled, GWU law professor Jonathan Turley was quoted as saying the students who wanted to change the name were misguided:


“The name Colonials is being stripped of its own historical meaning and wrongly treated as synonymous with ‘colonialism,” said George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley. “Not only were the colonials not a manifestation or celebration of colonialism, they were the very symbol of resistance to colonialism. They fought the British Empire to secure self-rule. In doing so, they defeated the greatest world power of its time.”

Turley said the colonials fought against foreign rule.

“They are,” he said, “by definition the antithesis of colonialism.”

Unfortunately, those opposing the moniker were ultimately successful.

There is no word yet on what the new name might be but according to that same Fox News piece, some names that were floated include “Hippos,” “Riverhorses” and “Revolutionaries.”

Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–


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