George Washington University changes ‘extremely offensive’ moniker ‘Colonials’ after woke backlash
George Washington University completed the name change of its moniker/team name after a long search to replace its nickname, the “Colonials,” which some students found offensive.
The private Washington, D.C., school has received backlash since at least 2019 from some of its student body, when students started a petition for a name change because Colonials was found to be “extremely offensive by not only students of the university, but the nation and world at large.”
The school announced in summer 2022 that it would officially begin to discontinue the use of the name after nearly 100 years with the moniker.
“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 said in a statement.
The George Washington University Colonials officially became the “Revolutionaries” with a May 24, 2023, special announcement on the school’s news site, GW Today.
“After 12 months, 47,000 points of feedback and 8,000 moniker suggestions whittled down in a comprehensive community engagement process to four finalists, the university announced on Wednesday its new moniker: the Revolutionaries,” the announcement read.
As reported by TimCast, the school also published a breaking news-style video featuring alumnus Chuck Todd of MSNBC.
— GW University (@GW University)
“The Revolutionaries moniker represents GW community members because they ‘are not afraid to break boundaries and change the game. The GW Revolutionaries go beyond what’s conventional or expected to focus on shifting mindsets and creating a new future for ourselves and our world’,” the statement added.
Other names considered by the school included Blue Fog, Ambassadors, and Sentinels.
The name change comes the same week as nearby NFL team the Washington Commanders considers yet another name change due to a failed trademark application. The Commanders were formerly known as the “Redskins” and used a logo designed by Walter “Blackie” Wetzel, a well-respected former chairman of the Blackfeet Tribe in 1971. However, ownership deemed “Redskins” to be too offensive and officially changed the historic team name in 2020 to the interim placeholder of the “Washington Football Team,” until switching to the Commanders in 2022.
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