GW Student Editors Call For “The Colonials” to be Replaced by “The Hippopotamuses”

I have previously written about my opposition to the dropping of “The Colonials” as the nickname of The George Washington University, which I teach. The university assembled a committee that seemed pre-disposed to drop the name after objections that, in my view, were historically and logically wrong. That followed an earlier panel that lacked any opposing views on the matter.  Now the student editors at The Hatchet have called for the adoption of “The Hippos” as the new moniker — an option that I discussed earlier as a poor alternative (though perhaps optimal if we wanted to call ourselves “The Hippocrites“). Yet, this is deemed the best option and the editorial makes the case by again repeating a fundamental misconception of the original school nickname.

We adopted “The Colonials” in 1926. We have also used “George” a our mascot since 1948. Even the use of George Washington as an identifier is now under attack.

A Washington Post editorial recently also called for the school to drop the name of George Washington because it “falls short in addressing the main issues of systemic racism and inequality still present on campus.”

George Washington’s bust has also been vandalized by protesters.

In April 2019, a slim majority of George Washington University students voted to dump the Colonials nickname. I spoke to some students who felt that they had little notice or time to vote. Many did not take it seriously and the vote turnout was relatively low.

The editorial stated The Hippos is a better moniker because “it’s divorced from the ugly history of colonialism and racism that marked our use of Colonials.”

The editorial reflects the same views expressed in the original petition read. “The historically, negatively-charged figure of Colonials has too deep a connection to colonization and glorifies the act of systemic oppression.”

In first campaigning for the change, former Hatchet reporter Andrew Hesbacher was 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.

The Colonials reflected 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.

I have few illusions that such objections will have any more impact on this debate than it did over the last two years. However, the continued misrepresentation of “The Colonials” undermines the credibility of this debate and does an unfairness to those who long and proudly called themselves “The Colonials.”

63 thoughts on “GW Student Editors Call For “The Colonials” to be Replaced by “The Hippopotamuses””

  1. Mensa has a yearly fee. I know because my “genius” brother was paying it every year. I asked him one day as he buffed his genius badge at me: “what does it cost per year to be a member of Mensa?” (It was $99.00 per year back then. I have no idea what it costs today to be a genius) So, with a sad smile I suggested that the real geniuses at Mensa were the people cashing his check. He’s no longer a member of Mensa. What follows is a sad fact that you can’t escape. I sorry if you spent a quarter of a million dollars and went in debt for the rest of your life, but your degree from whatever university you attended is worth as much as a Mensa membership. You paid for it. You have it. It’s proves you are a sucker. Don’t feel bad. There’s one born every minute.

  2. Maybe polite people like Mr. Turley need to start admitting to themselves and the rest of the world that the Marxist Cultural Revolution in the U.S. is underway and our side is losing.

    As long as polite society — people like Turley — remain in denial and clutch their pearls rather than fight back, things will get worse.

  3. So in an attempt to do something that these narrow-minded, one dimensional people can feel self-righteous about they choose to ignore the many fundamental positive contributions our founding fathers had in advancing our free society. Despite any of their shortcomings, George Washington along with the other founding fathers established a unique government with the foundations that have enabled the progress we have made (and continue to make) in creating the world’s most free and fair society. It’s ok to point out the flaws of our key historical figures, but it is more important that we continue to give credit where credit is due, least we forget how important the foundations they established are to our country and the world.

  4. I’m not understanding why universities are giving students, or even alumni this power. Because they paid tuition? Should Wells Fargo put a name change for their corporation up for a vote to the customers because they facilitated “the annihilation of indigenous populations”? Maybe the root of this is twofold; ESG/DEI for the university and the woke mob exercising the power ESG/DEI unleashes.

    GW should instead tell these students they applied and were accepted to the university with a mascot named Colonials. Either remain students under that mascot or leave the school. If they persist, then expel them and if necessary arrest them.

    1. think! GWU is a jesuit college. they are 100% owned by the communist party/cultural marxism. they don’t want to keep the old name. they think this is just perfect.

  5. Sounds like most students voted to have the mascot name changed a couple of years ago. But Turley – showing his true MAGA colors – thinks we should not accept the voting results. I guess votes only count when your side wins. Maybe you should storm the student government office.

    1. Props’ reply is nonsense, but plainly ad hominem. Professor Turley correctly states the history that the 13 Colonies — who were ultimately the victims of George III’s unrepresented taxation — were anything but the incorrect adjectives used by silly “wokes”. Instead, they banded together, fought the Superpower that had “planted” them, and won, to create the greatest society and government of guaranteed freedom, of opportunity, and of hope for people throughout the globe. Only a fool would fail (or blindly refuse) to appreciate the honorific choice of the name, ‘Colonials’.

    2. Sounds like you don’t care about all the people who spent their life saving graduating from this institution. Did they get a vote? If anybody has a right to vote it is those who’ve paid the full cost of a degree, yet you don’t give a flying eff about any of them. That tells me who you are. You are something I’d step over with finger pinching my nose. GFYS Props.

    3. Take your TDS and shove it shitlib. You sanctimonious hypocrites can’t stomach real vote counts. Now, go bow to Hillary Clinton and Stacy Abrams hot pocket.

  6. They’re only doing it to antagonize. If they truly felt this way they wouldn’t attend the university at all. Why staff tolerates such things is beyond me. But, someone has to be the adult in the room.

  7. The hippo:

    A fat, ugly, solvenly creature that inhabits swamps, is mercurial and aggressive, and that slings its feces everywhere (“muck-spreading”).
    A perfect mascot for the Woke mob.

  8. To Hullbobby. I very much agree with your statement. I suspect our ages are similar. Graduated college 1970 in Atlanta. The 1960’s were grim in a lot of ways and students were definitely stupid even then. A big thrill were those using LSD and freaking out and then freaking out again with flashbacks at unpredictable times. And continuing to use it! The moronic ones were those who gave themselves intravenous doses of mayonnaise or feces which gave them a “high” even as they descended towards death. We, with a little more judgement, just tried to tell them that the “high” was brain anoxia and the white light was the proverbial locomotive come to take them to oblivion. They just would not listen. We tried to tell them it was more fun driving down the expressway at an unknown rate of speed, in north Atlanta, after having several screwdrivers but again they just would not listen. Just could not understand them.
    My high school were the WOLVES and college were the EAGLES. We wolves loved to feast on the elitist north Atlanta high schools.

  9. If these children and absurd staff actually had any belief/ethics/morals/values in their inane hypocrisies they would IMMEDIATELY leave the university, their jobs, their degrees. But instead they persist in being entirely ignorant of history and disparaging the very people who defeated autocracy and created the most free and prosperous nation on earth.

    These absurd people are Hippos and deserve to be released into the pile of mud that Hippos so enjoy!

  10. Perhaps one of these universities would be more honest changing their names to Hypocrites instead of Hippopotamuses.

  11. My University went through the mascot name change phase. I strongly disagreed with the childish need. I stopped contributing to the University.

    1. Victor, that is the best thing that us powerless people can do. The schools feed millions of dollars to Democrats, the Democrats in government then feed government largesse back to the schools and all we have in our arsenal is to stop contributing and hope that it makes a difference.

      This is a variation of the public unions that glove all of their money to Democrats who in turn cater to the unions to the detriment of the public at large. See how much damage the teacher’s unions did to kids over the last two years.

      As an aside, please note that the liberals/media want to ban corporations from donating to Republicans by trying to overturn Citizens’s United, but they have no problem with unions, even public unions, giving millions to pols.

  12. Students have always been morons, the problem today is the “adults”. Why is it that the school could go 200 years without their name being an issue, in fact it was a thing of pride, and suddenly the children NEED it changed? Maybe it is because things are so good that the children need to protest something. When I was a student kids were getting drafted to be sent to the jungles of Vietnam, blacks suffered real discrimination, women were in the midst of a real battle for equality and gays couldn’t even make an appearance without facing serious issues. Today the children all have $1000 phones, $200 sneakers, no chance of getting a failing grade and no pressure in class…and so they freak out over a name or a statue of Washington. It would all be laughable of the school administrators weren’t all just old children themselves.

    To my point above: People with cancer don’t worry about gluten, the only allergy that rises by zip code. How many men on an oil rig say that they can’t eat bread?

    1. Excellent comments. Spot-on. But what’s a society to do when the generation below behaves as they do? If not for their materialistic desires, I would compare them to university students during the Cultural Revolution…the one in China, not the one happening here now. To answer your question, none. The food on rigs is fabulous, by the way, at least offshore in the Gulf of Mexico!

  13. Democrats Hate America
    Time to end all federal aid/loans for college
    if you don’t vote GOP….you Hate America

    1. The Colonials rebelled against the colonialism of the British and freed themselves. Are these people really that dumb or is this just sophistry?

  14. Dear Mr. Turley, you are the very soul of patience and tact in your writings. Nevertheless you manage to skewer the stupid time after time. BRAVO AND THANK YOU!

    1. Undergraduate level problems (yes, I include the administration in that).

      Students might worry about Putin’s “Armageddon”, or the huge tuition that the school is charging, or even worry about their career prospects.

      But no, the name is what is important.

      Kind of puts lefty priorities in perspective.

      1. monumentcolorado,

        First world problems.

        Ironically enough, there are people in this country who are facing real problems like food insecurity. There are people who are having to take second jobs to make ends meet in the face of inflation.
        I wounder if any of these “I stand with Ukraine!” snowflakes are going to enlist when WWIII erupts? Or just tweet Ukraine flags and feel they are doing their part.

      2. So true, MonumentCO. BTW, on another matter, how many news outlets covered Biden’s huge memory lapse at Camp Hale yesterday regarding his son Beau? I see Newsweek and MSN actually mentioned it, but I have yet to see CNN, MSDNC, WaPo or the NYT mention it in their glowing reports about this outing in the high country. I doubt the Denver Post mentioned it, but can’t see because of the paywall. The bluer-than-blue Vail Daily certainly didn’t mention it. Surprisingly, YouTube has allowed the proof of this to remain online:

        1. “I mean this sincerely. I say this as a father of a man who won the bronze star, the conspicuous service medal, and lost his life in Iraq.”

          Biden is clear and present danger to this country and our national security. He lives in his own alternate universe. Biden lies so often that he believes his own lies. What a disgrace he is. His status-hungry wife is even more despicable.

        2. Biden still repeats the lie that he was a ‘full professor’ teaching classes at Penn after he was Obama’s VP. Biden is a delusional pathological liar.

          1. Biden has a reputation for mangling facts throughout his entire political career.
            It has gotten much worse recently, but that is more a sign of his dementia, he likely believes what he is saying.

            The core problem is not with Biden, it is with those who have voted for him over the years

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