Amherst College Drops Mascot Considered Offensive

Jan 27, 2016

Amherst College trustees have voted to stop using Lord Jeff as the school's unofficial mascot because of its negative historical connotations. 

The mascot is named for 18th-century British Gen. Jeffery Amherst, known for suggesting a plan to deliver smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. Amherst was the commander of British forces in North America during the French and Indian War.

Trustees Chairman Cullen Murphy said in a statement Tuesday that the mascot is "driving people apart because of what it symbolizes to many in our community." He says a mascot's job is to unify.

Murphy acknowledged many students and alumni are attached to the mascot. But surveys found that most faculty and students favored dropping it.

He says an alumni-student group will be assembled to come up with a new mascot.

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