Political correctness, or “woke” cancel culture, struck again: George Washington University (GWU) announced that it will get rid of its Colonials nickname by the 2023-2024 academic year.
The private university, located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C., said that the decision was made “only after a thoughtful and deliberate process,” as local news outlet WTOP reported. The university is expensive: its undergraduate tuition cost per year averages to about $58,000 per academic year (two semesters).
GWU said that during the course of its deliberation process, supporters of the nickname believed that the Colonials moniker represented “those who lived in the American colonies, especially those who fought for independence and democracy” while opponents claimed that it memorialized “colonizers who stole land and resources from indigenous groups, killed or exiled Native peoples and introduced slavery into the colonies. These are perspectives that cannot be easily harmonized, the committee concluded.”
The university’s associate vice president for alumni relations and community giving, Patty Carocci, noted that the recommendation came from its Special Committee on the Colonials Moniker. Meanwhile, board chair Grace Speights said, “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.” Historians told the committee that George Washington himself “firmly rejected the term ‘colonial’ in the few times he used it.”
Adding to the “woke” statements was Christopher Alan Bracey, the university’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, who said the Colonials moniker no longer represented the university. “We have evolved over our 200 years as an institution and a community” and the “moniker no longer does the work that a moniker should—namely, unifying the campus behind our academic and athletic institutional aspirations.”
The name change sounds expensive because GWU said it will select a firm to help the renaming process alongside an advisory committee of university officials, alumni, and current students. Public comments are permitted online.
GWU is not the first, or last, university to rename its nickname in recent years. But, GWU joins several D.C. professional teams in renaming its moniker. The National Basketball Association team rebranded itself from the Bullets to the Wizards, while the National Football League Washington Redskins changed to the Washington Commanders within the past year.