Valparaiso University makes mascot change official

The university will now be known as the Beacons, following faculty and student senate resolutions to cease using the nickname Crusaders.

Valparaiso is not the only school to disassociate itself from 'Crusaders' due to the term's connection to White nationalism.

Valparaiso University announced on August 10 that they have changed their name from the Crusaders to the Beacons, because school administrators believe the term is associated with White nationalist groups. 

The university's president believes that the new name aligns more closely with the school’s values. 

“Our new nickname directly connects to the university’s motto, ‘In Thy Light We See Light,’ and represents the Valparaiso University community in many ways,” President Jose D. Padilla said in a statement. "We are beacons of light and hope in our communities. We are beacons of change on campus, in our region and in our country. We are beacons of knowledge for our students’ academic, social and spiritual growth.”

The decision follows pressure by students, faculty, and alumni to adopt a new name. 

[RELATED:Carthage College drops team name and mascot for not being 'inclusive' enough]

Several hate groups use Crusader imagery. The Ku Klux Klan’s official newspaper is named, “The Crusader”. At the 2017 Charlottesville Rally, several members of hate groups carried crusader shields with a red cross on them that read “deus veux”, which means “God wills” in Latin. 

Traditionally, Valparaiso’s mascot has worn a helmet and costume armor. 

The school’s faculty and student senates both passed resolutions requesting a name change and the university agreed to a review. In February, the administration agreed to start the process of changing the name of their mascot. 

The university then began a multi-month process of selecting a name out of a pool of over a thousand candidates by members of the university. In the end, the administration believed that Beacons more fit the university’s values.

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

Speaking with the Associated Press in February, former Interim President Colette Irwin-Knott stated such, “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."

Valparaiso’s not alone in their decision to drop the Crusaders nickname. 

In Springfield Missouri, Evangel University decided to drop the Crusaders name after determining its originally “noble” meaning eventually morphed into something that symbolically represents a “pretty violent group of people.” 

Holy Cross University decided to drop the hooded knight mascot but keep the Crusaders nickname.

Campus Reform reached out to Valparaiso University for comment, but did not receive a response.