Valparaiso University will retire the Crusaders mascot and team name, the private Lutheran university announced Thursday, explaining Crusader imagery has been embraced and displayed by hate groups.
In a statement, university officials mentioned the use of the term by the Ku Klux Klan and that crusader imagery was displayed by individuals who participated in the Jan. 6. U.S. Capitol riot.
The decision to retire the mascot was finalized this week following an evaluation by a task force that was established to "conduct due diligence and garner feedback" from the campus community, alumni, parents and stakeholders.
“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,” Colette Irwin Knott, interim university president, said in a news release. "...This is the decision that best reflects our values and community.”
Emphasizing VU is following the same course as virtually all other universities that had the Crusader as their mascot, the university stated imagery and logos will be retired over the coming months.
A new committee, which will focus on engaging the community and adopting a new mascot, will be overseen by President-Elect Jose D. Padilla, who will begin his role March 1.
Furthermore, the VU alumni board of directors passed a resolution calling for the review of the use of the mascot as well as its appropriateness and alignment with the academic institution's values.