The George Washington University student body voted Thursday to "remove and replace" its mascot, the George the Colonial.
According to the GWU Joint Elections Commission, 54 percent of students who voted in this spring’s Student Association elections supported the removal of the Colonial as the school’s mascot. It was not immediately clear what students plan to replace the Colonial mascot with or even if school administrators will act on the results of the referendum.
Campus Reform asked GWU to comment on the matter but did not hear back in time for publication.
The original push to change the mascot started last spring with an online petition, which garnered over 500 signatures. Ashley Le, who served as GW Student Association President at the time, encouraged university administrators to listen to students' concerns on the matter. The total number of signatories that the petition has amounted to less than 2 percent of the GW student body.
Last spring, two-time GW alumnus Michael La Place published an op-ed in The GW Hatchet, titled, “GW must stand by Colonials nickname." In his piece, he said that “being identified as a Colonial fills me with pride.” Earlier this school year, GW hired Jordan West as diversity coordinator. In an article about West’s hiring, Le told The Hatchet that West discussed the issue of changing the “colonials” moniker at their fall retreat.
The issue was brought up again this semester by Haley Margolis, a GW Student Association Senator. Margolis put on a panel titled “Is the GW Colonial Inclusive School Spirit” to discuss the history of the colonial earlier this semester. Before her event, she told the GW Hatchet that the school is a “diverse institution” and that “school spirit is something that should be based on equality.”
Campus Reform correspondents went to the school and interviewed students to get their thoughts on the matter. Not many students were aware of the push to change the mascot at the time. One did call the colonial "a little white supremacisty [sic]."
Campus Reform campus correspondent and GW student Abigail Marone appeared on Fox & Friends in March to give her perspective.
“There's a huge difference between a colonial, which is our mascot, and anyone who lived during colonial times, and colonialism, which is what students are saying this mascot is representative of, which is not the case at all,” Marone said during the interview.
Earlier this week, two conservative student groups pushed back against the resolution which was on the ballot this week. The GW College Republicans and the GW Young Americans for Freedom both issued statements against the referendum.
Kara Zupkus, campus correspondent and president of the Young Americans for Freedom Chapter at GWU told Campus Reform earlier this week that her group believed that “the Student Association should be focusing on more pertinent issues, such as food insecurity, rather than something superficial like this. The Student Association has proven time and time again that they have little power, which is mostly symbolic in nature.”