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Regional News

Amherst College's New Mascot: 'Mammoths'

Graphic of an Amherst College baseball cap on the skeleton of a Columbian mammoth, which is on display at the school's natural history museum.
Screen shot from mascot video
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Amherst College
Graphic of an Amherst College baseball cap on the skeleton of a Columbian mammoth, which is on display at the school's natural history museum.

Amherst College said its new mascot will be the Mammoths. The selection replaces Lord Jeff -- which the school's board banished from campus 14 months ago.

The search for a new mascot followed protests on campus last school year. One demand from protesters was to get rid of Lord Jeff, named after Lord Jeffery Amherst, a British General who suggested using biological warfare against Native Americans.

Mercedes MacAlpine was one of the student protesters. Mammoths wasn't her first choice, but she likes it.

"They're huge and extinct -- sort of in the same way I hope systemic inequality will be," said MacAlpine, who graduated last year and works for an AmeriCorps program in Hartford.

MacAlpine is glad there's a new mascot, but said student activists have turned their focus to more practical issues of injustice -- like protections for non-gender conforming students, and the undocumented, especially in light of the election.

Mammoths was one of five mascot finalists put to a vote, with 9,295 students, alumni, faculty and staff participating, according to the college. It's a reference to a skeleton of a Columbian Mammoth on display in the Amherst College museum of natural history.

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly spelled Lord Jeffery Amherst's first name.