Go ... Hamster?
That's one of the mascot names Amherst College is considering.
The New England liberal arts school is located in Amherst, Massachusetts – a town named after Lord Jeffery Amherst – and has unofficially gone by the Lord Jeffs for about a century, the college says.
But in the wake of conversations about controversial mascot names, the college's trustees have decided to finally name an official one (they've never had one before). Why? Because Lord Jeffery Amherst, who had no affiliation with the founding of the college, suggested smallpox be used against Native Americans.
The college kicked off the process of naming its first official mascot last year, and it got 2,045 suggestions. It recently narrowed that down to 30 semifinalists, including Dinosaurs, Fighting Poets, Mammoths, Octagons, Radiance, and – of course – Hamster, a news release says.
And the idea that a college mascot would be named after a furry little rodent has gotten a lot of attention from people on the internet.
So, why the Hamster? Those who submitted suggestions had to give a reason. They ranged from its a "cute animal" to the fact the hamster is an anagram of Amherst – "it's a bit tongue-in-cheek, appropriate for a Division III school," one person said.
You can see the full list of suggests – and why – here.
The college hopes to narrow down the list to five mascots before putting them up for a vote in late March.
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