The board of trustees for the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, met Feb. 3 and decided that the school mascot will continue to be the crusader.
While some members of the Holy Cross community had found the connection to the Crusades troubling, college leaders said they saw an important distinction.
“While we acknowledge that the Crusades were among the darkest periods in Church history," they wrote in a statement, "we choose to associate ourselves with the modern definition of the word crusader, one which is representative of our Catholic, Jesuit identity and our mission and values as an institution and community."
That decision was sparked by a letter that 48 members of the Holy Cross faculty wrote to editors of the paper in 2017, encouraging them to consider changing the name.
They noted growing anti-Muslim sentiment in the country.
After researching the Crusades, editors at the newspaper decided that a name change was the right way to go.
"It's a history on conquest," said James Gallagher, co-editor-in-chief. "There are various massacres that took place within that of Jews, Muslims, etc. -- innocents, essentially. Even with the tradition of the name on campus, we simply felt that the connotation was too strong and inextricably linked to the name itself."
The first edition of "The Spire" comes out Feb. 9.