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George Washington University will cease its use of the Colonials name by the 2023-24 academic year.
Per an announcement released Wednesday (h/t USA Today‘s Scooby Axson), school officials said the moniker “no longer [serves] its purpose as a name that unifies.”
Former George Washington president Thomas J. LeBlanc said in a July 2020 statement that the institution was forming a special committee to look into changing the school moniker and renaming on-campus buildings and memorials.
LeBlanc’s statement noted the Board’s Naming Task Force emphasized the Colonials moniker “stood apart as an issue of great concern.”
The special committee was formed in the wake of a March 2019 vote by GW’s student body to drop the nickname with 54 percent support.
In April 2018, Alejandra Velazquez wrote a story in the GW Hatchet student newspaper criticizing the Colonials name as “an example of celebrating the colonization of Native Americans and slave ownership.”
In Wednesday’s announcement, GW president Mark S. Wrighton noted he was “impressed by the principled and collaborative approach of the special committee, and it was clear this process was driven by research and robust engagement with the community.”
The school has not determined what its new moniker will be, though Wrighton noted the process will involve “extensive community engagement.”
George Washington University has used the Colonials nickname since 1926. The mascot, George, features an enlarged George Washington head and a colonial uniform.