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Spectator editorial: Nominal naming

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A university’s merit does not depend on its name or the perceived connotations that may come along with it. Therefore, thinking that changing a name will in some way boost a university’s standing is a foolish waste of time and money.

Students and alumni of UW-Milwaukee are rallying today to advocate changing the university’s name to Wisconsin State University, according to an article by, a Milwaukee-area
daily online magazine.

Leaders of the effort said Milwaukee will never meet its full potential as long as its name is hyphenated and as long as the university is perceived as yet another satellite of UW-Madison, according to the article.

Jim Price, a professor of journalism, cites examples like Michigan and Michigan State, Colorado and Colorado State and Arizona and Arizona State. Those schools, he said in the article, are rarely confused with one another.

The argument that the university’s name is the barrier to greater prestige and success is ridiculous and stands to waste a tremendous amount of the university’s resources.

Milwaukee’s worth should depend on the quality of its education, though prestige can also grow out of athletic success. Changing the university’s name will not alter this criterion.

Advocates of the change should also consider the amount of funding the project would require as logos on buildings, IDs, signs, attire and other items are altered.

Furthermore, the UW System is a cohesive educational network. Milwaukee does not have the right to suggest that it deserves to be separate from this nomenclature.

Universities like UW-Eau Claire and UW-La Crosse could also argue they deserve recognition in their own right.

And a name change should not be a priority for people who are concerned about their university – not with funding concerns and scandal also plaguing the System.

This group’s concerns are peripheral to the real challenges facing public education and won’t break down the barriers to Milwaukee reaching its desired goals.

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The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.
Spectator editorial: Nominal naming