College eliminates mascot connected to smallpox blankets figure

Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst by James Watson, published by John Boydell, published by Josiah Boydell, after Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1766. Image NPG D7002 from National Portrait Gallery, London

Amherst College in Massachusetts is getting rid of its unofficial "Lord Jeff" mascot.

The college's name comes from the town of Amherst, which itself was named for Lord Jeffery Amherst. He was a British military commander who advocated the use of biological warfare -- in the form of blankets infected with smallpox -- during Pontiac's War in the late 1700s.

"Lord Jeff as a mascot may be unofficial, but the College, when its own resources are involved, can decide not to employ this reference in its official communications, its messaging, and its symbolism (including in the name of the Inn, the only place on the campus where the Lord Jeffery name officially appears)," Cullen Murphy, the chair of the college's board of trustees, said in a lengthy statement.

Many students and faculty called for the removal of "Lord Jeff" but some alumni wanted it to stay. The school will now come up with an official mascot.

Get the Story:
Amherst College trustees vote to drop controversial Lord Jeff mascot (MassLive 1/26)
Amherst College drops Lord Jeff mascot over bad connotations (AP 1/26)
‘Lord Jeff’ was never Amherst’s official mascot. But the college just dropped him anyway. (The Washington Post 1/26)
Amherst College Drops ‘Lord Jeff’ as Mascot (The New York Times 1/27)

An Opinion:
Editorial: Amherst College mascot doomed by modern reality (The Springfield Republican 1/27)

Related Stories:
Peter d'Errico: Time for college to dump the Smallpox General (11/19)
School takes aim at figure who came up with smallpox blankets (11/18)

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