Article Comment 

Lawmakers: MUW Name change ‘dead on arrival’

 

Jason Browne

 

Prospects for renaming Mississippi University for Women may have hit a fatal snag Wednesday. 

 

Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Columbus, reported after a meeting with House Universities and Colleges Committee Chairman Kelvin Buck, D-Holly Springs, no bills concerning a name change would come out of committee. 

 

"All House bills pending right now will not be considered by committee," Smith paraphrased, noting Buck says there is a lack of concern in the House over the issue.  

 

"That is pretty much the case," Buck said this morning. "Based on consultation with (representatives), none are prepared to go on the record to support (a name change). If the entire delegation is not willing to stand up, it will be difficult for me to bring out a bill that I know is going to get beat up." 

 

Sen. Doug Davis, R-Hernando, has proposed Senate Bill 2702 to the Universities and Colleges Committee to allow the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning to change MUW''s name. Smith says the Senate bill may pass out of committee and be sent over to the House committee for consideration. But Buck says a Senate bill would meet the same fate as a House bill. 

 

"Again, there would be a situation where I wouldn''t be able to move it forward," he said. 

 

MUW President Claudia Limbert, who endorses changing the school''s name to Reneau University, said Buck''s decision was news to her. 

 

"I talked to Kelvin this morning and that never came up in the conversation at all," Limbert said, Wednesday. 

 

She says a name change, which is supported by community leaders such as the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors and the Columbus-Lowndes Development Link, is vital to MUW''s future. A non-exclusive name, she says, will attract more students. 

 

"If you had a restaurant and 97 percent of people coming by didn''t like the name on the sign, I think you''d change your name pretty fast. Ninety seven percent of students are not even giving us a look," said Limbert. 

 

Prior to Monday''s deadline for introduction of general bills, Smith submitted House Bill 909 calling for the authorization of the IHL board to change MUW''s name. 

 

Smith says he isn''t a supporter of MUW''s suggestion of Reneau as the school''s new name because it''s not "gender neutral" or "marketable," but he wants to resolve the issue. He says controversy over the school''s name is a contributing to support for Gov. Haley Barbour''s recommendation MUW be merged with Mississippi State University. 

 

MUW''s current Alumni Association and its disaffiliated original alumni association, Mississippi''s First Alumnae Association, have been engaged in a years-long debate over the name change. The groups have put the debate aside for the time being to unite as Friends of The W and fight the potential merger. 

 

"The merger is being blamed on the economy but also the fight over the name change, the fight between the two alumni associations," said Smith. "If we can eliminate one of the two problems the IHL board is seeing, hopefully talk of a merger would go away." 

 

He says IHL Commissioner Hank Bounds has expressed a willingness to take on the name change. 

 

"Dr. Bounds had told some of us if we wanted the IHL to change the name they would take the ball and run with it," said Smith. "They would probably try to name (MUW) after something such as a section of the state -- something geographical or regional like University of Mississippi or East Mississippi Community College." 

 

Rep. Stephen Holland, D-Plantersville, had another suggestion. He introduced House Bill 243 which would change the name of MUW to Mississippi University for Women and Men. 

 

"I appreciate the support, but all universities are for women and men," said Limbert of Holland''s proposal. 

 

Holland says he filed the proposal strictly to oppose changing MUW''s name to Reneau. 

 

"I am not for closing The W, nor am I for changing its name. I wanted some idea in the hopper other than Reneau," he said. 

 

He acknowledges Buck has "come out pretty strong" against taking up the name change issue and any Senate bills which find their way to the House will be "dead on arrival." 

 

 

 

Proposed legislation concerning MUW 

 

     

     

  • Sen. Doug Davis, R-Hernando: Senate Bill 2702 to allow the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning to change MUW''s name.  

     

  • Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Columbus, House Bill 909 authorization of the IHL board to change MUW''s name. 

     

  • Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven: House Concurrent Resolution 11 to amend the constitution to provide for a state university system state board of governors and local board of trustees. 

     

  • Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven: House Bill 692 to relocate the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Sciences on the MUW campus to the campus of the Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven. 

     

  • Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson: House Bill 599 to relocate the Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven to the MUW campus. 

     

  • Rep. Kelvin Buck, D-Holly Springs: House Bill 1054 to create an IHL committee to study funding to state universities and submit a written report to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee every three years. 

     

  • Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, D-Brookhaven: Senate Bill 2637 to merge MSMS from the MUW campus to the MSA campus in Brookhaven and turns administrative duties over to the State Board of Education. 

     

    n Sen. Doug Davis, R-Hernando: Senate Bill 2794 to merge the administration of MUW and MSU, name MUW a campus of MSU and consolidate duplicative programs at the schools.

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments

Article Comment KJ commented at 1/21/2010 12:10:00 PM:

One can only hope that the proverbial door does indeed deliver a smack to the backside on her way out.

 

Article Comment Ellen commented at 1/21/2010 1:37:00 PM:

I 2nd that KJ.. this is awesome news for THE W!!
Now let's move on and start promoting The W as it should be!!

 

Article Comment j commented at 1/21/2010 1:57:00 PM:

SHE IS LYING THE NAME CHANGE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. tHE W CAMPUS IS THE ONLY CAMPUS IN MISSISSIPPI THAT DISCRIMINATES ON WHOM THEY LET ATTEND THEY SHOULD MAKE IT AN PRIVATE SCHOOL AND GET RID OF THE W ALTOGETHER.

 

Article Comment Walum82 commented at 1/21/2010 2:15:00 PM:

"If you had a restaurant and 97 percent of people coming by didn't like the name on the sign, I think you'd change your name pretty fast. Ninety seven percent of students are not even giving us a look," said Limbert.

This is just one more example of the many ways that the Limbert administration misuses "facts and figures" to try to manipulate public opinion and shore up their unsubstantiated and indefensible position as to to what is "wrong" with Mississippi University for Women.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO OBJECTIVE AND STATISTICALLY RELIABLE RESEARCH TO SUBSTANTIATE HER CLAIM THAT 97% OF STUDENTS AREN'T GIVING MUW 'A SECOND LOOK' BECAUSE "WOMEN" IS IN THE NAME!!!

The 97% statistic she continually repeats in a variety of guises to supposedly "prove" whichever of her personal opinions she is trying to pass off as scientific fact DOES NOT EVEN PERTAIN TO MUW!

None of Limbert's "research" meets any of the accepted criteria which defines valid and statistically reliable fact-finding and now, even as her tenure thankfully winds down,she continues her ranting and raving about the name being the source of all of MUW's difficulties, AS IF we are not all well aware that her own failed administration has done more damage to this venerable and historic women's university in the past 8 years than had ever been done in the prior 117!

Why would anyone concerned about the state's budget even consider changing MUW's name at this time knowing the costs that would be associated with such a change and having NO WAY TO KNOW IF THERE WOULD EVER BE ANY RETURN ON THAT INVESTMENT?!

Please, Dr. Limbert, in the next few months of your term, make your plans to retire into the mulch of your gardening nirvana and DO NO MORE DAMAGE TO MUW!

 

Article Comment fastoy commented at 1/21/2010 3:21:00 PM:

"Dr. Bounds had told some of us if we wanted the IHL to change the name they would take the ball and run with it," said Smith. "They would probably try to name (MUW) after something such as a section of the state -- something geographical or regional like University of Mississippi or East Mississippi Community College."

Isn't "University of Mississippi" already taken? And "East Mississippi Community College" makes it sound like a junior college.

Leave well enough alone.

 

Article Comment Wow commented at 1/21/2010 7:09:00 PM:

You aren't too bright, are you, "fastoy"? University of Mississippi and EMCC already exist. EMCC is less than thirty minutes from MUW. They were using those names for examples of how they could potentially re-name MUW.

 

Article Comment William commented at 1/21/2010 10:54:00 PM:

Time will take care of the bigots at MUW. I'm an alum who will never set foot on campus or support it without a name change. You folks may delay it 20 more years but inevitably you lose this one either by name change or the school closing. The mere fact some would rather close the school than change the name only proves they are in this fight for the wrong reason. Many opposed the name change to MUW some 35 years ago and guess what? The sun still came up the next day.

 

Article Comment 84alum commented at 1/22/2010 12:53:00 AM:

Dear William: You are an alum--that means you came to a school (and presumably graduated, given that you refer to yourself as an alum) with WOMEN in the name. Didn't stop you, did it? It was, and is, an excellent small liberal arts university whose mission since it was chartered is primarily the education of women. Given the demand for equality in all things over the last 40 years, the exclusivity had to end. However, the primary mission of the school can and should remain what it is. That does not mean that men cannot receive an excellent education there. There are many thousands of women will gladly set foot on campus and support it, thanks.
And honestly, does ANYONE choose whether to eat at a restaurant based on its NAME??? I base my decision on the quality of the FOOD.

 

Article Comment Bubba Gump commented at 1/22/2010 4:49:00 AM:

The 84 Alum is the same tired excuse they always use to defend the school. Nevermind the fact they have once again wasted a lot of money only to accomplish nothing.

The Blue Haired Mafia wins again. And Mississippi finds out their public leaders are somewhat P whipped.

And nothing changes at the W.

Yeah, I can see how you might figure yourself to be a winner. Lost the money, made a fool out of yourself, spineless politicians, and the same lame school it ever was before.

Yeah, that spells winner alright.

 

Article Comment Tired commented at 1/22/2010 12:05:00 PM:

And honestly, does ANYONE choose whether to eat at a restaurant based on its NAME??? I base my decision on the quality of the FOOD.

Well... I might not even GO into a restaurant if I didn't like its name or if its name was confusing - like if it was something like Meats for Men. I might think that only men could eat there. I wouldn't even KNOW that women could eat there even if there were lots of ads in the newspaper or even if they sent me information in the mail because I might not even read any of that very carefully, instead basing my opinion solely on the name of the restaurant. Or if I DID read the information I might worry that I was going to be the only woman in the restaurant.

Just saying.

 

Article Comment KJ commented at 1/22/2010 2:18:00 PM:

To be clear, I'm not against the name change, I think it has the potential to benefit the W. But Limbert short-circuited the process for building support from the people from whom she most needed it. Whether out of ignorance or stupidity, she chose to operate under the assumption that, once disaffiliated, the Alumnae Association would cease to be a player. After squandering years of effort and conducting questionable (and let's be honest, everything Limbert has done after the shady firings is questionable) research into the benefits of a name change, the need for a name change, and the search for a new name she's walking away leaving a splintered group of folks behind her trying to pick up the pieces. A piss-poor effort overall.

 

Article Comment Bubba Gump commented at 1/22/2010 9:51:00 PM:

Welcome to Mississippi, a Choctaw word meaning "piss poor effort overall." You must be new here.

 

Article Comment TD commented at 1/22/2010 11:21:00 PM:

This is one of the biggest non-issues I've seen. MUW is going to be merged with MSU as a matter of the Governor balancing the budget. It will happen too.

Renaming MUW was sort of grasp the last-straw for Dr. Limbert to demonstrate she wants to keep the "W" independent of MSU.

 

Article Comment Paul Miller commented at 1/24/2010 4:24:00 PM:

There are other ways to attract students without changing the name. It's called "Marketing"! It also helps if there is a significant level of acheivement that can be obtained from a degree recieved at said educational facility. What significant program can the MUW offer? Use that as your main attraction to market. If you don't have one, it's the Dean's fault! Signed, a local high school grad with no college education. (Smiles)

 

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