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Students at George Washington University have voted to urge the removal of the Colonials name from the university's athletic teams. A petition that led to the vote said, "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. Alternative nickname recommendations are 'Hippos' or 'Riverhorses.'"

Some at the university oppose a name change. The College Republicans urged members to vote against a name change, arguing that the name "embodies the spirit of freedom" of those who fought for American independence.

Students do not have the authority to change the name. A statement from the university said, "GW students are actively engaged in the world and passionate about the issues important to them, as seen in this recent student vote. University administration has been following the conversation about the university’s nickname. We respect the opinions of our students, however we have no specific comment on the referendum at this time."