Amherst College Drops Mascot “Lord Jeff”

Amherst College's Lord Jeff

Amherst College’s Lord Jeff

Amherst College seems to be latest victim of higher education’s stifling climate of political correctness after it announced that it’s dropping its mascot, Lord Jeffrey Amherst, from official use.

“Lord Jeff,” as he is colloquially referred to, was not the college’s official mascot, but can be found throughout campus and on Amherst College paraphernalia. On January 26th, the Amherst board of trustees decided “not to employ this reference [Lord Jeff] in its official communications, its messaging and its symbolism.”

Jeffrey Amherst was a colonial military commander during the French and Indian War, and is the namesake of Amherst College and Amherst, Massachusetts. Lord Amherst was instrumental in many British victories during the war, winning him fame and respect. The controversy surrounding Amherst is rooted in his use of biological warfare against Native Americans, to whom he disseminated blankets infected with smallpox.

Amherst students included the removal of Lord Jeff as part of their list of demands regarding racial discrimination on campus, claiming his symbolism is “inherently racist.” Striking Lord Jeff from Amherst College follows a broader pattern of activists’ focus on symbolism. At Yale, activists seek to rename Calhoun College, one of Yale’s residential colleges named after South Carolina secessionist John C. Calhoun. At Princeton, activists are demanding the removal of President Woodrow Wilson, ironically a staunch progressive, from the campus.

This new brand of campus activism spares no historical figure. Choosing to focus on a particular aspect of his tactics, the student activists at Amherst College willingly ignore Lord Amherst’s positive contributions to history. More importantly, it is critical to ask what these students hope to achieve by eliminating Lord Jeff. They claim Lord Jeff is inherently racist, but does his status as an unofficial mascot actually perpetuate racism of old? The natural conclusion of these students’ logic is the renaming of Amherst College. After all, is not the name “Amherst College” inherently racist just like its former mascot Lord Jeff?

Tradition does not have to be incompatible with tolerance. Amherst College need not drop its traditional mascot to remain an institution of equal opportunity. It’s unfortunate that student activists’ shrill brand of liberalism has succeeded in bullying Amherst College into sacrificing tradition and a symbol of pride commemorating one of colonial America’s most prominent war heroes.

  • penelopebi@me.com

    I completely agree with this writer. How sad .

  • GaleDryer

    The problem is, the more Dartmouth gives in, the more they feed the beast. More and more demands will be made. At what point does it stop? The black students will demand more black students, more black professors, more black culture classes etc. If demands are not met there will be more library protests. The provost has already said it was beautiful, what is to stop it from becoming a regular occurrence? At some point the President of the college needs to grow a pair and stand up to these kids. Dartmouth survived just fine for centuries without their input, what makes admin think these kids know better?

    • frankgado

      You are asking too much of science!

  • piper60

    The distributing smallpox blankets line is a flat out LIE!, much beloved of european leftists eager to denounce the USA, but it never happened.The indians provided themselves with the blankets by digging up smallpox victims in the cemetery of a recently surrendered British fort and retrieving the coveted British Army blankets they’d noticed the Brits were burying their dead in.They thereby infected themselves-and their home villages with th deadly disease. Lord Jeffrey Amherst had little to do with this pernicious urban legend.