'Men with ballast and women whose hair is not blue ...'

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.