Valparaiso changing Crusaders nickname and mascot after criticism, hate group use

Ryan Young
·Writer
·1-min read
The Valparaiso Crusaders mascot
Valparaiso is changing its Crusaders nickname, mascot. (Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

Valparaiso is done with its nickname.

The Indiana university announced Thursday that it is ditching the Crusaders nickname, mascot and logos — something that had been adopted and embraced by various hate groups throughout history.

“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,” interim president Colette Irwin-Knott said, via The Assocaited Press. “This is the decision that best reflects our values and community.”

Valparaiso’s student senate and faculty senate each passed resolutions that called for the name change, and the university’s alumni board of directors supported the change, per the report.

Incoming university president Jose D. Padilla, who will take over on March 1, will oversee a committee that will lead the name change.

The Crusades were a series of wars between Christians and Muslims in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries used to secure control of holy sites and land in Europe and the Middle East. Various hate groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, have used crusaders symbols and words ever since.

“The Crusader does not [represent the university] effectively,” student president Kaitlyn Steinhiser said, via The Associated Press. “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. 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."

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