Amherst College drops Lord Jeff mascot over bad connotations

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AMHERST, Mass. (AP) Amherst College trustees have voted to stop using Lord Jeff as the school's unofficial mascot because of its negative historical connotations.

The mascot is named for 18th-century British Gen. Jeffery Amherst, known for suggesting a plan to deliver smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. Amherst was the commander of British forces in North America during the French and Indian War.

Trustees Chairman Cullen Murphy said in a statement Tuesday that the mascot is ''driving people apart because of what it symbolizes to many in our community.'' He says a mascot's job is to unify.

Murphy acknowledged many students and alumni are attached to the mascot. But surveys found that most faculty and students favored dropping it.

He says an alumni-student group will be assembled to come up with a new mascot.