October 18, 2017

Holy Cross forms commission over Crusader mascot

Grant Welker
The College of the Holy Cross is considering renaming its mascot, currently called the Crusader.

The president of the College of the Holy Cross has set up a commission to collect input on whether the school should drop its Crusader name and mascot.

Debate began over the Crusader name last year, with some concerned for how the name evokes religious wars or how it has been co-opted by some far-right groups.

Holy Cross announced Oct. 11 the Rev. Philip Boroughs set up a working group of students, alumni, faculty and staff to set up at least two events on campus this fall to hear ideas on the name. Both the Crusaders name and the college's mascot, which shows a knight with a sword and a shield, could change.

"We encourage you to be thoughtful and creative as you engage in the discussion," Holy Cross said in its announcement to the public.

The commission will accept public comments until Nov. 26, including through a submission form on Holy Cross' website.

The group is expected to present public comments and a summary of its findings to Boroughs and the college's board of trustees in January. It will not make a recommendation on a course of action, Holy Cross said. The board of trustees would make a decision at its February meeting.

The issue of the Crusader name was first raised by a committee looking into the name of Mulledy Hall, named in memory of the college founder, the Rev. Thomas Mulledy, who had ties to slavery. The college began hosting discussions about the Crusader name this spring.

"The Crusader name is an undeniable part of Holy Cross' history," the college said in last week's announcement, adding: "At the same time, we acknowledge our responsibility to thoughtfully examine the sensitivities and implications this name may bear in light of the Crusades."

Holy Cross' newspaper may also be getting a name change. The Crusader is also the name of the KKK newsletter, a connection newspaper writers have said it wants to avoid.

James Gallagher, the newspaper's editor in chief, wrote in an issue this month the paper will make a decision on a possible new name before the start of the spring semester.

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