Susquehanna University Drops ‘Crusaders’ Mascot – It’s Too Offensive
Campus Reform reported:
** Susquehanna University is the latest institution whose mascot, the Crusaders, must go due to concern over potential offensiveness and negative connotations.
** The school president is leading several discussions among SU students, alumni and staff to determine what the new nickname and mascot will be.
** In a recent poll of students, a squirrel mascot won over 50 percent of the votes.
Following a vote from the Board of Trustees, Susquehanna University is the latest institution whose mascot, the Crusaders, must go due to concern over potential offensiveness and negative connotations.
Citing “growing concern and sensitivity” to ensure sure the campus remains “welcoming and inclusive,” SU President L. Jay Lemons addressed the student body in a video sent via e-mail September 25 explaining the history and use of the mascot.
Per the wishes of the Board of Trustees, Lemons is leading several discussions among SU students, alumni and staff to determine what the new nickname and mascot will be.
Lemons explains in the video that it was a Philadelphia sportswriter, not the college itself, that dubbed the athletic teams the “Little Crusaders” in 1924. The name stuck as “medieval iconogrophy” such as the Maltese cross came to accompany the nickname.
It wasn’t until the 1980’s that Susquehanna made the “intentional change” to drop the Knight mascot and Maltese cross and adopt the “Crusader flag,” as Lemons explained, “distancing [themselves] from the medieval Crusaders iconography that had been present in an earlier time.
In the late 1990’s, the image of the Crusader morphed again, this time in the form of a caped tiger, which has remained the mascot until last fall when “struggles” that students had in “trying to identify new iconography” began the discussion over the name and mascot again.
“Unfortunately, most people who hear the word ‘crusade’ do no think about Division III sports, rather they carry in their minds knights, castles, and medieval warfare,” said Professor Linda McMillan in the video.
The history professor explains in the video that the “historical reality” of the mascot’s connotation is the violence and warfare sanctioned by the pope and aimed against “the other” and “primarily Islam.” She adds that when discussing the historical Crusades in her history classes, the reaction among students has been “increasingly uncomfortable” post 9/11 when she also brings up thoughts on “Crusader” being the school mascot.