January 28, 2016
Amherst Drops Mascot “Lord Jeff”
On Tuesday, Jan. 26, Amherst trustees announced that colonial military commander Lord Jeffrey Amherst will no longer represent the college. A statement said that a group of alumni and students would consider whether a new official mascot should be adopted.
According to an article in The New York Times, many students viewed “Lord Jeff” as a symbol of white oppression who advocated giving Native Americans blankets infected with smallpox.
“Amherst College finds itself in a position where a mascot — which, when you think about it, has only one real job, which is to unify — is driving people apart because of what it symbolizes to many in our community,” wrote Chairman of the Board Cullen Murphy.
“Beyond that, people will do as they will,” read the statement. “The college has no business interfering with free expression, whether spoken or written or, for that matter, sung. Period. We hope and anticipate that understanding and respect will run in all directions.”
Campus student activists have long protested Lord Jeff, calling the mascot “an inappropriate symbol offensive to many members of the student body.” Those who wanted to keep the mascot viewed his removal as an “affront to campus traditions.”
“The ambition is to make Amherst College a place where all three words in the phrase ‘diverse intellectual community’ have as much meaning as the middle one has always had, and to demonstrate that the kind of liberal-arts education we value, and that has shaped each of us, is incomparably matched to this ambition. The task is educational and it is cultural,” the statement concluded. “It means equipping them with respect for diversity in many forms, including points of view and modes of argument, and with a bedrock commitment to critical thinking and freedom of expression. It means understanding that our diversity and our values are complementary ingredients of what a liberal-arts education must be. And it requires communication among all parts of the Amherst community, more than we’ve had, regular and continuous.”
Colby Continues Efforts to Revitalize Waterville
Colby College bought a fifth building in downtown Waterville, Maine this week to build a student and faculty dormitory. The plans are part of the college’s ongoing effort to “revitalize the heart of the city with new and refurbished buildings for commercial and residential use” according to the Central Maine. Colby College President David Greene hopes to convert an area in town called “The Concourse” to “a walking street.”
“You can imagine having this whole row of buildings brought back to life with destination retail across the street and both students and faculty and staff living in the space,” Greene said. “It really starts to change the street dramatically.