George Washington University to Reconsider Its ‘Colonials’ Moniker

George Washington University said on Monday it is reconsidering its ‘Colonials’ moniker, which its Board’s Naming Task Force said “stood apart as an issue of great concern.”

Dr. Thomas J. LeBlancDr. Thomas J. LeBlanc

Over the years, students have been calling for a change to the university’s moniker. Last year, students created a petition saying the moniker “glorifies the act of systemic oppression” and is “offensive” to international students who are from countries that have been colonized.

In a statement, university president Dr. Thomas J. LeBlanc said the university is setting up a Special Committee on the Colonials Moniker, which will include student, faculty, staff and alumni, that will study the renaming request.

The university is also creating a committee to consider whether a building called Marvin Center should be renamed.

LeBlanc emphasized that the creation of these committees “does not indicate that we are presupposing a specific outcome.”

According to a university web page, the “Colonials” moniker came into use in the fall of 1926. At the time, an editorial in the campus newspaper, the Hatchet, explained the reasoning behind adopting the ‘Colonials’ name: “George Washington University, in its antecedents, is a colonial school. Dating back to very early post-Revolutionary days, it was founded when the term ‘colonial’ still applied to an era which was then passing. Let us then, in just regard for our precious heritage, adopt as the name for the warriors wearing the Buff and Blue the term ‘Colonials.’”