Boston University is considering changing the name of the school’s mascot because of its reference to a character in "Gone with the Wind."
The mascot, a Boston Terrier named Rhett, pays tribute to Clark Gable’s character in the 1939 film that’s seen by many critics as romanticizing slavery in the South.
A committee consisting of students, alumni and faculty will offer a recommendation to Boston University President Robert Brown for renaming the mascot by mid-October.
Brown said in a campus-wide letter Wednesday that it’s not clear when the mascot’s nickname reached popularity among students, but that the school understands the association. He said the Terrier mascot was chosen in 1922.
“In the Boston University context, the ‘Rhett’ nickname is, of itself, a play on words,” Brown wrote. “Since our school color is scarlet, it was a short leap for students—or perhaps a sports publicist—to link Rhett to Scarlett O’Hara, the other romantic lead in the book and movie.”
“Despite this seemingly cute connection between the movie and our mascot’s name, the fact is that the movie’s portrayal of the American Civil War, postwar reconstruction, and slavery is offensive,” he added.
Boston University is one of many U.S. schools that’s decided to reexamine its links to slavery and the Confederacy following nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice after the killing of George Floyd on May 25 during his arrest.
The University of Mississippi decided on June 11 to relocate a Confederate monument which stood at the heart of the campus. Princeton University removed the name of former President Wilson, who once defended racial segregation, from their school of public policy and a residential college on Friday.
The Floyd protests have also led to to the removal of multiple Confederate statues, as well as renewed criticism of “Gone With the Wind.” The movie was initially pulled from HBO Max but later reintroduced to the platform with “multiple historical contexts” provided.