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Change the GW mascot

We, as students of the George Washington University, believe it is of great exigence that the University changes its official mascot. The use of “Colonials,” no matter how innocent the intention, is received as extremely offensive by not only students of the University, but the nation and world at large. The historically, negatively-charged figure of Colonials has too deep a connection to colonization and glorifies the act of systemic oppression. Alternative nickname recommendations are “Hippos,” "Revolutionaries," or “Riverhorses.”

538 signature(s), add your name now and see who signed.

500 signatures threshold achieved

A petition is approved after 500 student signatures are collected.

Read President Ashley Le's response here.

Presidential response


On Sunday, May 6, the first ever GW Voice petition, “Change the GW Mascot” reached the 500 signatures threshold, with 514 students having added their names in favor of the petition.


This conversation, however, began long before the petition was submitted.


Over the past few months, we have witnessed a passionate, student-led movement to express concerns regarding our University’s official nickname, the Colonials. Through organized community events, discussions, and most recently the online petition, many have loudly emphasized how their student experiences at GW are impacted because of how we identify ourselves as Colonials, regardless of the intent behind the name. Their voices gain significantly more weight when our very own students studying abroad are requested not to identify themselves as Colonials out of respect to citizens of countries with colonial histories.


As Student Association President, I commit to empowering students’ voices whenever and wherever possible in the hopes of improving the GW student experience. As we seek to build a student-focused community, their voices are the most important, and should be elevated across mediums. Over the next academic year, I am excited to work with student leaders to facilitate discussions between students, alumni, staff, and administrators as we consider available options to move forward. Should legislation be brought to the full Senate floor in the next academic year, I will encourage students and members in the GW community to reach out to Senators during their office hours to ensure that your concerns are represented by our elected student leaders.


While this conversation specifically centers around the nickname, I believe it can be part of a larger movement to push our University closer toward its stated mission of creating a community “stimulated by cultural and intellectual diversity and built upon a foundation of integrity, creativity and openness to the exploration of new ideas.”


Our University’s pride comes from our students’ ability to influence changes, starting right here at GW.


Ashley Le

Student Association President

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