October 30, 2009 11:49:00 AM
Those who support changing the name of MUW to Reneau University are missing a critical link in the Profit-Loss-Costs equation..
Good business men and women know that in any financial calculation - whether on your business ledger as revenue/expense, profit/loss or filing your capital gains/losses with IRS - both gains and losses, assets and liabilities - must be taken into account.
That is not being done here. Those who support the name change are gambling - betting that the change will increase enrollment, save the university, and sustain the economic impact the university has on the business community in Columbus. But they offer no evidence whatsoever to support their claim and continue to ignore evidence that suggests the opposite will occur while failing to take into account the costs and losses that will occur if the name is changed.
At a time when education budgets are being slashed at all levels, it makes no sense to be spending scarce dollars on something as unnecessary as selling a new name. The timing is further impacted by the fact that The W has a lame duck president and no representative on the IHL Board. What is needed now is a real search for a new president who believes in the mission of The W and has the personal communication skills and political savvy to unite the alums, make friends for The W and market the university vigorously. Bringing in a new president and saddling them with the responsibility of selling the new name is senseless.
What will be lost? The stellar reputation for excellence that the current name carries with it. The women''s mission that has produced women of integrity and intelligence who are in positions of leadership all over the state. Four or 5 meetings annually when women come from all over the state to conduct the business of the association. Homecoming where hundreds of women come to celebrate the school from which they graduated....the fervent support of the 22,000-plus alums whose diploma will become an artifact... outstanding faculty committed to the current mission ... and when The W becomes a cookie cutter regional school...a commuter school altogether...giving to the foundation will take a big direct hit.
What will it cost? I''m not sure anyone knows how much the name change will cost in actual dollars. A search for comparisons suggests that the ultimate cost for a name change can range from several hundred thousand dollars to millions. The administration dodges questions on costs and suggests that private funds will cover the transition. If by that they mean from the foundation will cover the costs, it must be noted that any foundation dollars spent on a name change are dollars not spent on the more critical and fundamental needs of the institution.
The W must be saved - and can be saved, but first things first. Complete the search for the next president first. Find a new strong voice as an advocate for the institution and then address the name change issue.
Jimmie Moomaw, Avondale Estates, Ga.