Education

George Washington University Petition Started To Change Name From ‘Colonials’

Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Mike Brest Reporter

Three George Washington University students started a petition demanding the school change its mascot from a “colonial,” citing its “offensive” nature.

The Colonial mascot was adapted 92 years ago, according the school’s newspaper, The GW Hatchet.

The petition currently has a little under 400 signatures.

“It’s hard to have school pride when the thing that you have to be prideful for is so offensive,” sophomore Rachel Yakobashvili said to the Hatchet, one of the three students who started the movement.

They have suggested alternative names for the university to consider, such as the “Hippos,” “Revolutionaries” or “Riverhorses.”

There is a hippo statue on campus that was brought to the college by former university president Stephen Joel Trachtenberg in 2000. The university hosted their first-ever “Hippo Day” this winter with the goal of educating students about the impact of colonialism in the United States and around the world.

One of the students who began the petition allegedly was told at a study abroad orientation that he should avoid wearing clothing that has “Colonials” on it when out of the country.

The same GW Hatchet report also said a group on campus — the George Washington University Students for Indigenous and Native American Rights — was created with the ultimate goal of changing the mascot.

According to the GW Hatchet, any petition on the “GW Voice” platform (which is exclusively for GW issues) that obtains at least 500 signatures goes to the student association and they are obligated to respond to the petition and have the option to bring it to administrators.