|Amherst athletics hasn't used the above mascot in several years, and stopped using "Lord Jeffs" in athletics publications at the beginning of the 2015-16 academic year. Now the college has disavowed Lord Jeffery Amherst altogether.
Amherst athletics file photo
The change came to the athletic department quietly at the beginning of the fall of 2015, as the department stopped referencing the Lord Jeffs nickname online and in publications. On Tuesday, Amherst officially discontinued use of the name altogether.
The Lord Jeffs became the mascot of Amherst College nearly a century ago, after Lord Jeffery Amherst, the namesake of the town of Amherst, Mass. "The College itself has never officially adopted Lord Jeff as a mascot — or adopted anyone or anything else as a mascot, for that matter," as a letter from the school's board of trustees noted, but whether official or not, the Amherst teams, men and women, have been known as Lord Jeffs for generations.
At issue is Amherst, the individual. He suggested that blankets laced with smallpox be used to commit genocide against the Native American population in North America: "You will Do well to try to Innoculate [sic] the Indians by means of Blankets, as well as to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race," read one of his letters.
As for whether the school will adopt an official mascot, that remains to be seen. "As for an official mascot: should Amherst adopt one at long last?," the board's letter read. "Judging from online commentary, there is strong sentiment in favor of the idea." However, no timeline was given.