Updated: March 26, 2019 at 11:20 a.m.
The GW chapter of Young America’s Foundation and the GW College Republicans released statements Monday urging students to oppose changing the Colonials nickname.
The two right-wing student organizations wrote in separate Facebook posts to vote “no” on a referendum this week that will ask the student body whether the University should choose a new nickname.
The student-led push to change the name garnered more than 500 supporters through a petition last spring, and Student Association leaders restarted the effort to change the moniker this semester with a panel discussion about the negative connotations of colonialism around the world.
Members of YAF wrote that the Colonials nickname is a “unifying” symbol of the University’s identity. They said disapproval of the nickname is based on “false pretenses,” saying the term refers to those who inhabited the 13 colonies and opposed British tyranny during the American Revolution.
“The Colonial is a unifying symbol of American resilience; it represents the American attitude to stand up to those who seek to defy liberty and justice for all,” the post states. “The referendum is an effort to divide the GW community, which GW YAF strongly opposes.”
Members of the College Republicans wrote that the Colonial represents the “spirit of freedom and ingenuity” that helped found the country. Selecting a different nickname would “undermine” the values of the University and the country’s founding fathers, they said.
“Rebranding our university mascot does nothing to fix injustices of the past,” the post states.
This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
A previous version of this post misquoted part of GW YAF’s statement. It is now correct. We regret this error.