Valparaiso University in Indiana said Thursday that it would be removing the nickname "Crusaders" from its sports teams, logo, and mascot, citing a desire for inclusion and the use of the term by white supremacist groups.
The private Lutheran school voted on the measure through its student senate and faculty senate, which was then approved by the alumni board of directors. The school cited the term's historic connection to the medieval Crusades and the use by various modern-day groups such as the Klu Klux Klan.
"The negative connotation and violence associated with the Crusader imagery are not reflective of Valpo's mission and values, which promote a welcoming and inclusive community," said interim university president Colette Irwin-Knott. "This is the decision that best reflects our values and community."
Irwin-Knott posted a detailed explanation of the decision to the university's YouTube page as well.
Student president Kaitlyn Steinhiser echoed Irwin-Knott's sentiments, saying the nickname does not reflect the university's values.
"Valpo is and always has been a faith-based institution, and we want to make sure our symbolism is in alignment with our beliefs and speaks to the core values of the Lutheran ethos," she said. "At Valpo, we strive to seek truth, serve generously and cultivate hope. We do not believe having the Crusader as our mascot portrays these values."
🔦 Valparaiso University is not the first Christian college to drop the Crusader name. Wheaton College in Illinois, whose famous alumi Billy Graham was known for his evangelistic "crusades," ditched the nickname in 2000.