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George Washington U Debates Colonials Name

April 9, 2019

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."

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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