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  • College Dumps ‘Crusader’ Nickname For Being Insufficiently Diverse

    Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania has decided to jettison its long-standing “Crusader” nickname on the grounds that it is incompatible with diversity. The decision to break with tradition at the small Lutheran college in central Pennsylvania was made Monday following a vote by the board of trustees.

    Presumably, the Crusader nickname is considered inappropriate because it evokes medieval Christian military campaigns to capture the Holy Land from Muslims. Ironically, though, Susquehanna’s own website says that’s not the name’s origin.

    “The nickname ‘Crusaders’ was adopted in the 1920s when a new athletics director, Luther Grossman, inaugurated a new athletics policy at the university,” the school says. “In the years following World War I, Susquehanna became briefly embroiled in ‘big-time’ intercollegiate football, which in those days involved importing players who, strictly speaking, were neither students nor amateurs. Grossman, however, was determined that SU field football teams that were truly representative of the student body and, furthermore, that an extensive intramurals program be developed to offer all SU students some opportunity to engage in athletic competition. Grossman’s campaign was termed a ‘Crusade,’ hence the nickname ‘Crusaders.’”

    Nevertheless, the school says the name is now unacceptable and must be replaced.

    “Our ambivalence and discomfort with the ‘Crusader’ nickname has contributed to its decline,” said school president L. Jay Lemons. “We have not been able to attach our identity to our own unique definition of Crusader. To continue down that path would be unproductive and at odds with the university’s commitment to building an inclusive campus where individuals of all cultures are welcome.”

    The school is the latest of many that have been driven to change nicknames for political reasons, though it stands out because the offending name wasn’t related to American Indians.

    Alumni who support the now-former nickname have already launched a petition effort to retain it.

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