Student leaders use Capitol riot to cancel 'Crusader' mascot

The student government at Valparaiso University is asking the university to replace its mascot, the Crusader.

The student body president cited the appearance of the crusader cross at the Capitol riot on January 6.

After the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, community members at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana are renewing a push to replace the Crusader mascot

The Indiana school’s student body president Kaitlyn Steinhiser expressed concern that the crusader cross was seen at the riot on January 6. 

Along with the Valparaiso University Student Senate, Steinhiser encouraged her classmates to complete a survey to express their thoughts on the mascot, stating that “it is vital that current students’ perspectives are included in the survey data.”

“I personally can’t justify our university using this symbol,” she said.

In fall 2020, the Student Senate passed a resolution encouraging the university to “complete a comprehensive review of the current mascot’s image and connotation to the community,” “select a new mascot through a democratic process that includes faculty, staff, alumni, and students,” and “retire the crusader mascot by the end of the current academic year.”

[RELATED: Conservative students nationwide denounce Capitol Hill attack]

According to Steinhiser, the resolution passed with twenty-two affirmative votes and two abstentions. She also noted that the faculty senate passed a similar resolution.

“When I saw rioters storming the Capitol were wearing the Crusader cross and calling themselves ‘Crusaders,’ my heart just dropped,” Steinhiser told the Chicago Tribune.

Steinhiser told Campus Reform that the “conversation about changing the mascot started long before the Capitol riots,” especially when the interim president of Valparaiso launched a task force to examine the issue in fall 2020. 

Steinhiser said that Valparaiso administrators “have been open to students’ feedback about the retirement of the Crusader.”

Following the death of George Floyd in May 2020, universities across the United States began revising their mascots over diversity and inclusivity concerns.

For instance, the Community College of Philadelphia removed its mascot, Colonial Phil, following a movement from students.

[RELATED: Penn. college scraps Colonial Phil mascot following campus-wide backlash]

In June, Campus Reform asked students to opine on examples of potentially offensive mascots. Many affirmed that the mascots were indeed problematic.

Watch the full video above.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Students say these college mascots are ‘offensive’]

Campus Reform reached out to Valparaiso University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft