NNU changes mascot: "Honestly it was met with thunderous applause"

Image courtesy NNU

Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa has decided to change its mascot from the Crusaders to the Nighthawks after years of discussions.

The school's board of trustees says that while the term "crusader" historically meant someone committed to a worthy cause, more recently it has been associated with violence and destruction. The board also concluded that the mascot and nickname is easily misunderstood and could cause issues interacting with the global community.

They also were concerned that the nickname would detract from the school's mission and values.

"Adopting a name like Nighthawks allows us really to lean into the future and and to be able to live out our mission throughout the world," said Associate Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at NNU Mark Cork.

In 2016, the school says it formed a task force of trustees, alumni, students, faculty, and representatives from the athletic program to talk about the possibility of changing the mascot. Earlier this year, the task force issued a report to the trustees. The board then voted unanimously at its fall meeting to make the change.

This isn't the first time the school has made changes to its mascot. In 2006, after similar concerns, the school says it decided to keep the Crusader nickname, but stop using the image of a crusader for logos.

"Having one thing to rally around and just having it be the focal point of what we're rallying behind will be cool,"said NNU Student President Nate Lundberg. "We haven't really had any kind of physical representation of a Crusader so then we've kinda attached like an elk to it so we've kinda been half Crusader half elk."

The board of trustees says all trophies and banners referring to the Crusaders will not be changed.

"There are some things that are of historical value," said Cork, "Trophies for instance that were won or an athletic hall of fame that references Crusaders, none of that will change."

The school says it chose Nighthawk because it wanted to use a common local animal that was not already being used as a mascot for another school.

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