George Washington University (GW, GWU)

George Washington University to Drop ‘Colonials' Nickname

The D.C. school will keep the name until a more unifying name is selected before the 2023-2024 academic year begins

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The George Washington University will drop use of the nickname the Colonials after years of consideration, school officials announced Wednesday. 

The D.C. school’s board of trustees and a special committee created in 2019 to study use of the name concluded that “given the division among the community about the moniker, it can no longer serve its purpose as a name that unifies,” they said in a statement. 

“A moniker must unify our community, draw people together and serve as a source of pride. We look forward to the next steps in an inclusive process to identify a moniker that fulfills this aspiration,” Board Chair Grace Speights said in the statement.

The committee that studied the name found that supporters said it referred to “those who lived in the American colonies, especially those who fought for independence and democracy.” For opponents, it referred to “colonizers who stole land and resources from indigenous groups, killed or exiled Native peoples and introduced slavery into the colonies.” 

The school has used “Colonials” since 1926.

The name will be used until a new name is introduced, which is expected by the 2023-2024 academic year, officials said. Students, faculty and family members were urged to get involved in the process.

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