- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 30, 2017

A small Catholic college in Massachusetts could change the nickname of its athletic teams over concerns that “Crusaders” is offensive to Muslims.

The Boston Herald reported this week that trustees for the College of the Holy Cross will make a decision on the matter when they meet on Feb. 3. School officials report that they received “hundreds” of statements on the matter from interested parties during an 8-week-long comment period.

“The Crusader name is an undeniable part of the College of the Holy Cross’ history. At the same time, as an institution of higher learning, we acknowledge our responsibility to thoughtfully examine the sensitivities and implications this name may bear,” the college said in a statement, the Boston Herald reported. 

Seventeen years ago, Wheaton College of Illinois, an evangelical Protestant school, announced it was dropping the Crusaders nickname. Duane Litfin, the school’s president at the time, said the decision to drop the old nickname was “a matter of principle.”

“I came to realize that those [Crusades] were not very happy episodes in Christianity. They are not something we want to glorify,” Mr. Litfin said, reported Christianity Today magazine in April 2000. 

While the College of the Holy Cross mulls its decision, the Jesuit college’s student-run newspaper, The Crusader, is similarly weighing a name change.

“The Crusader was named in 1955, when Holy Cross was a homogenous place, filled with almost entirely white, Catholic men,” The Crusader’s editor-in-chief James Gallagher wrote in an Oct. 6 post on the paper’s website.

“Now that the school is far more diverse, it only makes sense to consistently evaluate the vestiges from a less inclusive time. The purpose of this newspaper is to represent and reflect Holy Cross’ student body. Our ongoing process will determine if calling it The Crusader is the best way to do that,” he added. “While tradition is powerful, it alone is not reason enough to prevent us from best realizing this perpetual goal.”

“The Editorial Board will render a final decision on the matter by the start of the Spring Semester,” Mr. Gallagher said.

Famous alums of Holy Cross include Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, TV personality Chris Matthews and J.D. Power, creator of the market research brand that bears his name.

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