August 8, 2009 10:08:00 PM
I graduated from Mississippi University for Women in 2007, and remain a proud alumna of my university. However, it is with a heavy heart and an unrelieved sense of dread that I continue to follow the news from The W these days.
I have yet to hear a persuasive, well-researched, thoughtful argument from Dr. Limbert to convince anyone that the name--and the name alone--is the crux of all of the university''s current enrollment and marketing issues. The university may be co-ed (as it has been for almost three decades now), yet the name "Mississippi University for Women" speaks to not only the history of the school, but the women''s mission that supposedly still drives it.
I have my own proposal for change: Get rid of Claudia Limbert.
I don''t think getting rid of Limbert will immediately solve every problem with the university (I''m not that naïve). But it is the first step in the right direction. Getting a new president in there, someone dedicated to promoting the W instead of pandering to those who believe men are just too dadgum insecure to attend MUW with the current name, will do a hell of a lot of good in restoring the faith of those alums who''ve been burned by Limbert and her cronies. Despite Limbert''s seeming belief to the contrary, the loyalty of a university''s alumni is ABSOLUTELY necessary to ensure the continued well-being of a school.
Tick off the alumni, and you''ve essentially lost thousands of dollars of potential scholarship money, and subsequently lost hundreds of potential new students who could have benefited from those funds.
By keeping the name and focusing on strengthening the women''s emphasis at the university, the W has a chance to offer women AND men a unique educational experience, unlike anything offered by another public university in this country. I truly believe there are many students in this country who, like me, like the W girls I know, are eager to embrace such a curriculum. In my experience, I don''t know many well-educated men who would deny themselves the chance to obtain a quality education from a campus teeming with women.
And those who do choose to deny themselves the opportunity ... well, they can always attend MSU or Ole Miss, because, like any university, despite its name, the W is not a perfect fit for everyone. But more needs to be done to entice those students -- male and female -- who will benefit from all of the wonderful things The W can and always has offered. The future begins not with a new name, but with NEW, inspiring, capable leadership dedicated to marketing the university''s strengths and celebrating its innate appeal.
MUW Class of 2007