August 10, 2009 10:22:00 AM
One of the first steps in promoting unity and harmony where differences and controversy exists is to find "common ground." Something that both sides can agree to. In the MUW name change conflict, there is one element that most thinking, caring friends of The W should be able to endorse. That is: We all want to see the university survive and once again thrive.
Civic leaders and concerned residents in Lowndes County surely see the value of having a viable institution of higher learning in their community. So I keep asking myself over and over...why are sane and sensible businessmen and community leaders following a path that will lead not just to changing the name of MUW, but to the demise of the university itself. Are they blind? Can they really not see that the unintended (or if you subscribe to conspiracy theory...the intended consequence) of changing the name will lead inexorably to the death of the university.
If Limbert gets her way, thousands and thousands of graduates will have no alma mater The degrees hanging on their walls will be from a non-existent institution.
Does anyone really believe the passion of those alums will simply go with the flow to a new name when the university ceases to be the "W" and becomes the "R."
Does anyone really think that all the loyal alums who even when not allowed to meet on campus continue to support the institution will keep going to the mat for a regional commuter school called the "R?"
I had a professor, mentor, debate coach at the W named Dr. Harvey Cromwell. He taught me how to think. He inspired me to become a college professor and like him to teach Logic and Argumentation. It is because of what I learned at the W that I am so opposed to changing the name of MUW to Waverly or Reneau or any hyphenated combination of those or any other names.
There is no logic or evidence to support a case for changing the name. There is no empirical data or research to demonstrate that the name change will produce the intended result ... increased male enrollment.
If I had constructed a debate case and offered no evidence to support my claim. If I relied only on anecdotal examples (well I heard a guy say he wouldn''t go there because the word Women is in the name). If one of the proposed names raised objections and I got my daddy to say it wasn''t so (no matter how distinguished my daddy might be.). If the only comparable institutional example I could cite that followed a similar course failed to achieve its objective. (Randolph Macon Women''s College changed the name to Randolph college and voila the next year 78 males enrolled...but over-all enrollment dropped because the number of females dropped more than male enrollment increased.) Dr. Harvey Cromwell would have kicked me off the debate team. If would be an over statement to say the evidence doesn''t meet the tests of evidence...timeliness, objectivity, external replication and affirmation. There simply is no evidence.
I can think of no greater shame than to kill an historic institution relying solely on assertions and assumptions about the viability of its name. The very concept lacks gravitas and substance.
Hopefully there are men with ballast and women whose hair is not blue...whose voices are not shrill in the Mississippi legislature who will see the travesty of Limbert''s folly...and end it. And, hopefully, the IHL Board will see all the damage that Limbert has done and change not the name of the university, but the name on the door of the President''s office.
Jimmie Meese Moomaw Avondale Estates, Ga.
Margaret Moore commented at 8/10/2009 6:38:00 PM:
I work in a local yarn shop in Eastern North Carolina. On Wednesday, a young woman bought yarn and gave a phone number with a Mississippi prefix. I asked where? She said the Tupelo area and I replied that I had graduated from 'The W'. She also graduated from 'The W'. That kind of thing simply won't happen with a name change to Reneau. Good marketing does not ignore name recognition.
KENT JOHNSON commented at 8/11/2009 5:09:00 AM:
MS. JIMMIE'S POST WAS RIGHT ON THE MARK,TOO BAD ALL THE GRADS IN THE PAST HAVE NO UNIVERSITY THEY CAN DESIGNATE,MS. LIMBERT SEEMS RATHER DICTATORIAL IN HER DECISIONS ESPECIALLY WHEN IT CAME DROPPING THE W'S ATHLETIC PROGRAMS A FEW YEARS BACK,OBVIOUSLY SHE DIDN'T WANT TO SPEND THE MONEY SUITING UP MEN SO WHAT WE GOT WAS TITLE 9 IN REVERSE I'LL BAN ALL PROGRAMS.BAD DECISION SPORTS PROGRAMS ENHANCE KIDS AND THE COMMUNITY,YOUR NAMES IN THE PAPER THE PROGRAM IS IDENTIFIED,THE ONLY THING THAT IDENTIFIES MUW NOW IS MS LIMBERT,SHE IS MUW OR SHE IS RENEAU.MY WIFE TURNED TO ME AND SAIDS I NEVER WENT TO SCHOOL NOW THE FINAL COUP DE GRAS IN STORIED HISTORY OF MUW.NOW MAYBE MS LIMBERT CAN MOVE ON SAY TO ALASKA OR AS FAR AWAY AS IT GETS.
Geroge commented at 8/11/2009 3:12:00 PM:
Did Harvey teach you to say "There is no empirical data or research" when everybody in the Southeastern United States knows that a professional study was conducted which concluded the name change was necessary?
RU living in the past or preparing for the future? Would the alumni like to have an Alma mater with a changed name or one that exists only in the history books? Get real.
Alex commented at 8/11/2009 3:34:00 PM:
This is just me being nit-picky, but the name was Randolph Macon WomAn's College.
Carol Morgan commented at 8/12/2009 5:43:00 AM:
Would someone please enlighten me as to the name and date of the professional study that Geroge refers to in his post of 8/11/09?
Carol Morgan commented at 8/12/2009 6:41:00 AM:
I need to explain to Geroge that I have not been in the Southeastern US since my retirement from my staff member position at MUW in July, 08. I have been living on a Army base in Europe with my daughter while her husband is deployed to Iraq. Carol Morgan "W '99" grad and mother of 3 MUW graduates.
Geroge commented at 8/12/2009 2:48:00 PM:
A study by The Chronicle of Higher Education last year showed that 97 percent of college-bound women would not consider single-sex education, which the name of the school implies.
Then there is the 20/20 study which I thnk cost a few $$$ to do.
You should try Goolge. It is a great search engnie. Ha Ha!
Diana commented at 8/14/2009 10:38:00 PM:
Hmm...I suppose that Cromwell left out the part about errors in debate, such as a "false dilemam." Everything isn't either/or. Maybe if the university's name is change it will survive-you have no empircal data to prove that it will not. Whatever the effects of the name change just after, Randolph-Macon had its highest ever applicant pool this year, and now has the higest enrollment it has ever had, so it obviously did not die.
My logic, as a W alum, is that I do not want even the appearance that men do not share in the joy and wonderful education that MUW has been providing for them since 1982, and has provided for women since 1884. If it had been named "Mississippi University for Men" the name would have to have been changed long ago, and I believe it is 27 years past time for the name of the university to reflect its new status-a prestigous university educating both women and men.
Let's not forget that the W has already survived several name changes-it has gone from Industrial Institute and College for the Education of White Women of Mississipp, and changed to Mississippi State College for Women in the '20s to denote its new status as a college providing several 4-year degrees for women, and finally came to be known as Mississippi University for Women in '74, reflecting its status as an institute that provided post-graduate degrees for women. The W's name has, heretofore, always changed to reflect its ever-changing status as well as its desire to be a premiere provider of education for its students. As the university started admitting men 27 years ago, it is well past time for a name that reflects the W's "new" status as a university that does not discriminate based on gender.
Diana commented at 8/14/2009 10:41:00 PM:
My apologies for my typo-that should be "dilemma."
My apologies as well for getting off track and not truly explaining what I meant. This editorial provides a false dilemma-the idea that if the W changes its name, it will not survive, and that if it does not, it will survive. Many things could swing the W's survival or demise. While the name is certainly important, it is not the only deciding factor, and pretending that it is is a ludicrous thing to do.
George commented at 8/18/2009 12:18:00 PM:
"And the 20/20 piece you referenced is not a properly conducted research or statistical study."
That is your opinion, it may have meaning to you but that's about all it is worth. It doesn't erase the fact that the original letter did not mention it nor discount it. In fact the author was either unaware of it, ignored it completely, or dismissed it without mention. In my opinion, this diminished the value of his analysis.
Diana commented at 8/19/2009 3:44:00 PM:
My logical reasons are that, as stated above, the name is discriminatory and does not accurately represent the university. MUW is a public university that needs to start marketing itself as such.
Also-I got the info from Randolph Macon straight from the Randolph-Macon website. Apparently there are several, and apparently I found the wrong one. But looking at Randolph College-maybe it's the $38,145 tuition and fees that have students looking elsewhere, as well as the size of the school and the fact that they cater to a small sector of society.
2. Our View: Time to set the Legislature straight on open meetings DISPATCH EDITORIALS
3. Voice of the people: Elaine Hegwood LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
4. Voice of the people: Lori LeVar Pierce LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
5. Local voices: Remembering Ed Phillips LOCAL COLUMNS