The GW Hippocrites? Students Seek To Replace GW Colonial Mascot With A Hippo

150px-GWUlogoFor roughly 100 years, George Washington has rallied behind our beloved mascot of the Colonials.  Now hundreds of students want to replace the mascot as “offensive” due to its perceived connection to colonization and . . .  systemic oppression.” Instead, they want to adopt the Hippo that is a favorite stop at 21st and H St.  However, wouldn’t that make us the “Hippocrites”?

The petition reads. “The historically, negatively-charged figure of Colonials has too deep a connection to colonization and glorifies the act of systemic oppression.”

It is nothing of the kind.  The Colonials reflect our history as one of the oldest universities in the country founded at the direction of George Washington.  Washington called for the establishment of a national university and left funds for our charter in in his last will and testament.  President James Monroe approved the charter in 1821.  It was meant to be a new university that reflected a new nation.  This country was founded by colonials who forged a new vision for democratic process and individual freedoms.

By contrast, the Hippo (or Riverhorse) is a beloved but relatively recent addition. Indeed, it was something of a joke by former George Washington University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg in 1996 when he presented the bronze statue as a gift to the University’s Class of 2000. A plaque was placed on the base:

Legend has it that the Potomac was once home to these wondrous beasts.George & Martha Washington are even said to have watched them cavort in the river shallows from the porch of their beloved Mount Vernon on summer evenings.
Credited with enhancing the fertility of the plantation, the Washingtons believed
the hippopatamus brought them good luck & children on the estate often attempted
to lure the creatures close enough to the shore to touch a nose for good luck.
So, too, may generations of students of the George Washington University.
Art for wisdom,
Science for joy,
Politics for beauty,
And a Hippo for hope.
The George Washington University Class of 2000
August 28, 1996

 

Former Hatchet reporter Andrew Hesbacher, along with Rachel Yakobashvili and Emma Krasnopoler started the campaign.   Hesbacher is quoted as saying “Colonialist, terrorist, murderer. In a lot of places that’s what colonials mean to people.”  Of course, that is the value of learning about the true meaning of terms.  The thirteen colonies were the seedlings that grew into a new Republic.  This school reflects those founding members of our nation.

 

21 thoughts on “The GW Hippocrites? Students Seek To Replace GW Colonial Mascot With A Hippo

  1. Colonialism and imperialism are now understood to be bad things. However, all of the students without exception, who now want to make themselves feel good by changing mascots are hypocrites as everyone in this society benefits from the very colonialism they claim to abhor and condemn. Without it where would they be? Most would be European peasants living in crushing poverty. Others would be speaking either Spanish or French because even if the British empire had not existed the French and Spanish empires would not have vanished and certainly would have overtaken all of North America. Look at how backward the southern portion of the western hemisphere is thanks to Spanish and Portugese conquest. Look at how underdeveloped and poverty stricken the Carribean nations are. America is, by definition a contradiction. We must find a way to reconcile the reality of what our ancestors did to make this great nation what it is today, much of which was brutal and barbaric, with the fact that we are now all enjoying tremendous benefits as a result.

  2. Next they will argue over which pronoun to use for the hippo. After all, hippos are gender fluid too.

  3. GIGO

    Garbage In Garbage Out

    “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

    • “Harmonious ingredients” and avoidance of “discordant intermixture” were the intent of the American Founders upon three iterations – 1790, 1795 and 1802.

      “…free white person(s),…”
      ____________________________________________

      Naturalization Act of 1790

      United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization” (March 26, 1790).

      “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen…”

  4. Hesbacher is quoted as saying “Colonialist, terrorist, murderer. In a lot of places that’s what colonials mean to people.

    Tell Mr. Hesbacher that if he’s dissatisfied with the results, he can go live elsewhere. He might even reflect on the history of elsewhere in comparison to every other place on the globe. Of course, the man’s much too puerile to actually do anything but strike poses.

  5. Why does anyone feel the need to respond to crazy? Just because someone says something stupid doesn’t mean you have to reply. I had a case against a relatively young attorney who made an outlandish argument against some settled law in Virginia. I tried to stand up to respond and a wise old judge I knew waived me down saying, “Let opposing counsel cogitate on it awhile and I’m sure he’ll figure out what you’re about to say.” I did. He did. And we won the motion by agreement.

    • In your court case, the Judge responded to crazy, right? While opposing counsel had the capacity to cogitate, I see nothing from these GW students that hints they have that skillset. So crazy needs to get nudged and sometimes shoved towards reality.

  6. The petitioners have it backwards. A colonial is a person residing in a colony. A colonial is not the overlord of the colony. The American colonials were the ones that were oppressed, hence, the American Revolution.

    Also, were there ever hippos in the Potomac River — I mean, maybe in prehistoric times? And why would a parent allow their kids to cavort with such a large and aggressive mammal. And fertilization. I wouldn’t want hippos anywhere near my crops. Eat and trample maybe, but fertilize, no. And think about what would happen if any of the hippos got a hold of Washington’s crop of hemp.

    No, hippos in the Potomac are an urban, or more correctly, a colonial, legend.

    • Exactly Vince.

      The historically, negatively-charged figure of Colonials has too deep a connection to colonization and glorifies the act of systemic oppression.

      They clearly haven’t thought this through. Are they also protesting those that were involved in the Underground Railroad, with its deep connection to the slave trade? Do they even teach U.S History anymore? If so, does it cover the 17th and 18th centuries?

  7. Systematic oppression by George Washington……..these students are ignorant of American history……quit partying all the time and start studying???

  8. Florida had mermaids, but that was a different problem. I really don’t think hippos ever got to the New World. How dense are the snowflakes at GW?

  9. the total amount of students invoved, as reported, were slightly over two percent of the student body. the whole thing wasn’t worth one headline except in the student newspaper or something

  10. “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

  11. Well, using that logic, they should take the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty. After all, she called on more immigration, which meant more whites and Jews coming to take lands from Indians and colonizing them.

    By the way, Hippos are mean animals. They are guilty of killing many innocent animals.

    Also, it’s appropriating Africa.

    • I’m gonna take a run down to the Recorder’s Office and look up the original deeds for the “lands” of the Indians. I know Sitting Bull was a surveyor or was that George Washington? It may be that either you or the rest of the civilized world is confused.

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