Tags: lord jeff | amherst | mascot | dropped

Lord Jeff the Mascot Is Banished by Amherst for Long Ago Deeds

Image: Lord Jeff the Mascot Is Banished by Amherst for Long Ago Deeds

Sir Jeffrey Amherst by Thomas Gainsborough. (amherstsoul.com)

By    |   Thursday, 28 Jan 2016 09:49 AM

The Lord Jeff mascot has been dropped by Amherst College's trustees following criticism that its misperceived 18th century namesake, Lord Jeffery Amherst, supported giving blankets laced with smallpox to Native Americans.

The college's trustees said they took in comments from alumni, students, and faculty in making the decision, said the Boston Globe. Many thought Lord Jeff was an inappropriate symbol for a liberal arts college.

"Hundreds of people have voiced their opinions in an online forum hosted by the college; any reader will safely draw the conclusion that neither the 'pro' nor the 'anti' side is going to convert the other," wrote Cullen Murphy, chair of the Amherst's board of trustees, on the college's website.

"So Amherst College finds itself in a position where a mascot — which, when you think about it, has only one real job, which is to unify — is driving people apart because of what it symbolizes to many in our community." 

Murphy said the Lord Jeff mascot has always been unofficial. He said that while the town is named after Lord Amherst, the commander of British forces in North America during the French and Indian War, the college is named after the town and does not have a connection with the historical figure.

WWLP-TV noted that Lord Amherst won praise leading British troops in an attack on the French coastal fortress at Louisbourg, and taking control of Quebec City and Montreal. He became infamous, though, during Pontiac's War for suggesting that the British distribute smallpox-infested blankets to the nearby Native Americans.

The decision to drop Lord Jeff, though, left some alumni angry. They said the action discarded tradition and tried to make judgment on a man who lived 250 years ago during wartime, said The New York Times.

"We think of ourselves as Jeffs, and we always will," said Donald MacNaughton, who graduated from Amherst in 1965.

Some on social media expressed the other side of the argument.

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The Lord Jeff mascot has been dropped by Amherst College's trustees following criticism that its misperceived 18th century namesake, Lord Jeffery Amherst, supported giving blankets laced with smallpox to Native Americans.
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Thursday, 28 Jan 2016 09:49 AM
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