BU President Robert Brown is starting a committee to look at renaming Rhett the BU Terrier, because his name comes from Rhett Butler in "Gone with the Wind."
In the Boston University context, the “Rhett” nickname is, of itself, a play on words. 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. And it is reasonable for people to question why, at a university founded by abolitionists, we have a mascot nicknamed for a character in a film whose racist depictions are completely at odds with our own tradition. It is time to address this question.
Brown also notes that the reason a Boston terrier is the school mascot is because in 1922, students picked the dog over a bull moose.