College sports teams known as the George Washington Colonials will soon be rebranded.
Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), George Washington University announced on Wednesday it has decided to drop the “Colonials” name after a special committee determined the moniker “can no longer serve its purpose as a name that unifies,” according to an official school statement. “Colonials” will continue to be used until a new name is introduced, ideally ahead of the 2023-24 academic year.
“The board recognizes the significance of changing the university’s moniker, and we made this decision only after a thoughtful and deliberate process that followed the renaming framework and special committee recommendation that considered the varying perspectives of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and athletics community,” George Washington University Board of Trustees chair Grace Speights said in the statement. “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.”
An advisory committee made up of George Washington leaders, alumni, faculty and students will make recommendations and monitor the work of a firm that will partner with the university regarding the selection of a new moniker.
Per a report delivered by the previously mentioned special committee, supporters of the “Colonials” name say that it “refers to those who lived in the American colonies, especially those who fought for independence and democracy.” However, opponents see it as a term that references individuals “who stole land and resources from indigenous groups, killed or exiled Native peoples and introduced slavery into the colonies.”
George Washington has used the “Colonials” moniker since 1926. However, institutions around the country have embraced similar name changes for a variety of reasons in recent years. In professional sports, the NFL’s Washington Commanders and MLB’s Cleveland Guardians rebranded to eliminate names and logos seen by many as racist and offensive.