Amherst Set to Dump 'Racist' Mascot
Lord Jeff advocated giving smallpox to Native Americans
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2015 12:33 AM CST
A portrait of Lord Jeffery Amherst.   (Wikipedia/Kevin Myers)

(Newser) – A British lord now best known for advocating biological warfare may be America's most endangered mascot. At an informal vote at Amherst College on Monday night, faculty voted unanimously in favor of dumping the Massachusetts institution's unofficial "Lord Jeff" mascot, reports the New York Times. The mascot represents Lord Jeffery Amherst, an 18th-century military commander and British governor of Virginia who helped end French rule in North America and, in 1763, suggested that a colonel give Native Americans smallpox-infected blankets and "try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race."

At a sit-in last week, protesters demanded the university's president release a statement that "condemns the inherent racist nature of the unofficial mascot" and begin the process of removing Lord Jeff's image from "apparel, memorabilia, facilities, etc.," reports the Amherst Student. No such statement was issued, and a college-wide poll on getting rid of Lord Jeff was held on Tuesday. The result hasn't been released yet, but an earlier survey found that 52% of students wanted to get a new mascot, the Student reports. The leading contender for a Jeff replacement is a moose, in honor of one that wandered onto campus last year. (This high school may have to lose its live tiger cub mascot.)