- The Washington Times - Monday, March 6, 2017

A small Catholic university in Pennsylvania is dropping its “Crusaders” mascot because some people found it offensive and non-inclusive.

Alvernia University, a private Franciscan Roman Catholic college in Reading, announced Thursday that it will be changing its nickname after nearly 50 years.

“As at other schools with the same nickname, some at Alvernia have viewed ‘Crusaders’ as expressing commitment to and passion for a cause. In that regard, the name correlates with a positive, competitive image for athletics,” the school said in a press release, the College Fix reported. “On the other hand, many others have found the name ‘Crusaders’ troublesome, even offensive. Even more important, they view the image as opposed to the peace and harmony of ‘right relationships’ modeled by St. Francis and the spirit of inclusiveness for which Franciscans strive.”

A FAQ page on the school’s website said the decision was ultimately decided by University President Thomas Flynn after he received a “unanimous endorsement” by university leaders, the Board of Trustees, and the leadership team of the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters, the school’s Catholic sponsors.

Mr. Flynn will appoint a university task force to review potential new nicknames, with a new mascot expected to be announced in June.

“Our visibility and reputation among small to mid-sized private schools, and among Catholic universities, is growing,” the press release stated. “Overall, our Franciscan identity is far more central, intentional, and prominent than a decade ago. And, like many others, both Catholics and those from other traditions, we are inspired by the message of a modern-day Francis who has been a prophetic voice for unity, inclusion and peacemaking.”

The school said the decision is “not at all” an effort to be more politically correct.

“It’s a matter of being true to our Franciscan mission and our core values of service, humility, peacemaking, contemplation, and collegiality,” it said. “This change is also a response to the spirit of peace, harmony, and inclusiveness that Franciscans aspire to and that Pope Francis upholds.”

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