The College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts may ditch their mascot, the Crusader, because it could be offensive to Muslims.
The mascot has been an integral part of the Holy Cross community for over a century, but college president Rev. Philip L. Boroughs has his concerns. President Boroughs established a working group which has asked, “In what ways do you think the Crusader moniker and mascot are appropriate, or inappropriate, representations of the College, given our mission, values and identity?”
Different members of the Holy Cross community have different answers to this question.
“The mascot is one of the most important things to the school because it represents who you are,” Holy Cross sophomore Matthew Wolfe told CBS Boston.
Tommy Heinsohn, a Holy Cross Class of 1956 alum, as well as an NBA Hall of Famer, takes issue with the possible mascot change.
Heinsohn told the Boston Herald that the crusade (no pun intended) to remove the Crusader mascot - the same mascot that Heinsohn spirited during his time at Holy Cross - is nothing more than “political correctness run amok.”
“The necessity of this thing is beyond the pale,” Heinson stated. “Get a life.”
“It’s a big deal for the upperclassmen because that’s what we’ve been going as the whole time we have been here,” Senior Susan Kritzmacher expressed to CBS Boston.
A paramount contention the college holds, as expressed in the same publication in the Herald, is that “the image of a Christian warrior might be offensive to Muslims.” The college also stated that they are taking into account the “sensitivities” that may be associated with the Crusader mascot.
“The Crusader name is an undeniable part of the College of the Holy Cross’ history,” the school told the Herald in a statement. “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.”
James Gallagher, Editor-in-Chief of The Holy Cross Crusader student newspaper, wrote an op-ed piece concerning this contentious debate on campus.
Gallagher clarifies that “The Crusader is a secular and non-partisan mouthpiece for the entire student body” and has an inherent relationship with that of the school’s Catholic heritage. Gallagher addressed a recurring argument promulgated by proponents to eradicate the mascot from campus, who claim that the mascot is in some way interconnected with the Ku Klux Klan.
“On the other side of things, however, we reject the idea that an incidental connection to the name of a rarely-read and poorly-circulated KKK newspaper represents a strong reason to make a change,” Gallagher states. “Yet, whether that newspaper’s name serves as evidence that the word ‘crusader’ has not lost its ‘clash of civilizations’ connotation certainly remains up for discussion.”
According to the college’s website, the discussion regarding mascot appropriateness has been going on since last year.
Isaiah Denby is a college freshman from Tampa Bay, Florida, studying economics and political science.