Introduction Committee Forums Your feedback

As part of important conversations about racism and the way it manifests itself in society—and specifically at Boston University—President Robert A. Brown has appointed a committee to reflect upon on whether or not BU’s mascot nickname, “Rhett,” should be retired.

While some may question the importance of addressing this issue, the name “Rhett” pay’s tribute to a fictional character from the 1936 novel Gone with the Wind and the 1939 film of the same name and is associated with the Confederacy, slavery, and sexual assault.  The cultural, ethnic, religious, ability, sexual orientation, and gender diversity of our campus community is critical to the excellence of Boston University.  For both academic success and social vibrancy, our identity—mascots included—should be a reflection of those values.

Comprised of alumni, undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members, and coaches and student athletes, the committee will evaluate the historical, cultural, and societal implications of our mascot’s nickname and its connection to Gone with the Wind.  Its recommendations will be delivered to President Brown by mid-October.

The committee’s work includes research of both the mascot’s nickname origins and a cultural understanding of why, at a university founded by abolitionists, we have a mascot nickname associated with a book and film whose racist depictions are at odds with our own traditions. Find research about the BU mascot naming history here.

We also want to hear from BU community members. We hope you will register for one of the two discussions planned for September 24 and 25, 2020.  Or, please share your thoughts with the committee via the input form below.


Harvey Young, Ph.D., Co-Chair
Dean of the College of Fine Arts

Steven Hall, Co-Chair
Vice President for Alumni Relations

Harvey Young, Ph.D.
(Co-Chair) Dean of the College of Fine Arts

Steven Hall
(Co-Chair) Vice President for Alumni Relations

Charles Chang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics

David Hollowell (ENG’69,’72, Questrom’74)
Member of the University Advisory Board

Lauren Morton (CAS’08)
Head Coach, BU Women’s Lacrosse

Lesley Ryan-Miller (CGS’94, Wheelock’96)
BU Alumna

Lilian Burchell (Questrom’21)
Undergraduate Student Athlete & President of Student Athlete Advisory Committee

Oliver Pour (CGS’20)
Undergraduate Student & President of BU Student Government

Ryan Roth Gallo (LAW’99)
Vice Chair, BU Board of Trustees

Starrchild Jackson (Questrom’22)
Undergraduate Student & Director of Social Advocacy, BU Student Government

Stephanie Tavares (CAS’21)
Undergraduate Student & President of Umoja

Walter Whyte (CGS’19, CAS’21)
Undergraduate Student Athlete

Weston Koenn (STH’21)
Graduate Student School of Theology

Committee co-chairs Harvey Young, PhD, dean of the College of Fine Arts, and Steve Hall, vice president of Alumni Relations hosted two forums in September 2020 to share the committee’s process and hear the thoughts of the BU community, including alumni, students, faculty and staff. Find research about the BU mascot naming history here.