George Washington University aiming to drop 'Colonials' moniker by 2023-24 academic year

WASHINGTON -- George Washington University is dropping its "Colonials" moniker because "it can no longer serve its purpose as a name that unifies," the school announced Wednesday.

GW will keep using Colonials until a new name is introduced. That is expected by the 2023-24 academic year.

"A moniker must unify our community, draw people together and serve as a source of pride," said Grace Speights, chair of the university's board of trustees. "We look forward to the next steps in an inclusive process to identify a moniker that fulfills this aspiration."

The school has used the nickname since 1926.

A special committee looked into the name's history and delivered a report to the school president in March 2021.

According to an online statement from the university, the committee determined that supporters of the Colonials moniker view it as referring to "those who lived in the American colonies, especially those who fought for independence and democracy," while opponents see the term as referring to "colonizers who stole land and resources from indigenous groups, killed or exiled Native peoples and introduced slavery into the colonies."