AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Amherst College is responding to criticism by changing their mascot. Lord Jeffery Amherst was born in 1717 and died in 1797. His last name became the name of the town, and the ‘Lord Jeff’ part was adopted as the mascot of Amherst College.
Amherst College announced they will not be referencing Lord Jeff in any official capacity. The adopted mascot, and real-life commander of British forces during wartime has been the subject of much controversy.
History shows that Lord Jeff Amherst supported biological warfare against Native Americans by sending them blankets infected with small pox.
“It’s racially insensitive to people of Native American decent or really of any indigenous culture,” said Amherst College freshman Isaiaah Lewis. “I don’t see how there is any tangible benefit from keep a racially insensitive mascot, especially at a campus that is so diverse.” But others think the move is too politically correct.
The A.J. Hastings store told 22News they originally stopped ordering Lord Jeff merchandise because of the controversial nature of the mascot. Once it was announced that the college was changing the mascot, they became inundated with orders, and now they are almost completely sold out.
“We’ve had some items that have the Lord Jeff name on it. We had some dolls that have the image of lord Jeff as a mascot. A lot of it sold out,” said employee Debbie Ward.
Amherst College owns the historic Lord Jeff Inn. A hotel on the National Register of Historic places. They’ll change the name. We asked students if the name of the town should change too.
“No. The town has been here for a long time and I don’t think it’s strongly associated with Lord Leff so there’s really no reason to do that,” said Amherst College student Michael Cha.
Amherst hasn’t decided if they’ll replace the mascot. Students told us options being considered include a moose, Emily Dickinson, and Robert Frost.