Crusaders no more: Valparaiso University chooses to replace nickname embraced by hate groups

VALPARAISO (Ind. Valparaiso University, Ind., announced Tuesday that the Beacons have been adopted as the new team name. This replaces the Crusaders term, which school officials had dropped after claiming it was embraced by hate groups.Jos D. Padilla is the university's president. He said that the new nickname of the private Lutheran school "directly connects with the University's motto, ‘In Thy Light We see Light’ and represents Valparaiso University in many ways.""We are beacons for knowledge that will help our students in their academic, spiritual and social growth. We are also beacons of God’s light throughout the world. "We light the way for our students so that once they graduate they shine their light for other people," Padilla stated in a news release.After receiving input from alumni, students and faculty, school officials announced that the Crusaders' name had been retired.After a long debate, this decision was made after groups like the Ku Klux Klan started using symbols and words from the Crusades. These were religious wars that began in the 11th Century between Muslims and Christians.Valpo's sports symbol was a helmeted, faux-armoured figure for many years. However, the school's faculty and student senators passed resolutions calling for a change. The university's alumni board supported the reassessment of the appropriateness of the team's name.Beacons was selected after a lengthy process that involved nearly 1,000 suggestions from students, student-athletes and alumni of the 3,100-student university. It is located in Valparaiso about 15 miles (24 km) southeast Gary.The school announced that the new nickname, mascot, and imagery will be gradually introduced during the 2021-2022 academic years. Valparaiso's intercollegiate sports teams will now be called the Beacons.Officials at the school stated that many of the university’s logos and marks, including its colors, and the "Shield of Character", will continue to be part of the university’s brand.