Evangel University cancels 'Crusader' mascot, claims decision has nothing to do with 'cancel culture'

Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri announced it will retire its "Crusader" mascot after more than a half century.

The school's interim president claims the decision has nothing to do with "cancel culture."

Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, the flagship college of the Assemblies of God Christian Church, announced it will officially retire its “Crusader” mascot after 66 years. 

The mascot has been the figurehead for the school ever since its creation in 1955. It was decommissioned by consensus opinion of multiple ad hoc committees, the school’s Board of Trustees, its Interim President and the president’s cabinet. School spokesperson Erin Hedlun directed Campus Reform to its website when asked for comment.

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At the time of its selection, the mascot was meant to inspire themes of courage and bravery. This connotation has since changed, however, as it is now seen as a reference to the Holy Crusades, a series of holy wars between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East from the 11th through 13th centuries. 

“The world has changed significantly since the 1950s, when the Evangel community, intending to depict strength, honor, and commitment to the faith, first identified a Crusader as the school’s mascot,” said George O. Wood, interim president at Evangel.

“Today, we recognize that the Crusader often inhibits the ability of students and alumni to proudly represent the university in their areas of global work and ministry,” Wood explained.

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Retiring the mascot was a decision that has been underway to some degree at the school since 2007 in response to what the school calls “an increased level of awareness as to how we are perceived by others.” Evangel’s website claims the change has nothing to do with cancel culture and says that the decision is “the right thing to do.”

At the time of publication, a decision has not been made as to the replacement mascot. The school plans to announce its new mascot during the Fall 2021 semester.