The W

The next place we stopped was Columbus, Mississippi, where The W is – the Mississippi College for Women:

…and since Eudora Welty attended college there in the ’20s, guess what!?:

The big going-on over there right now is about changing the school’s name. Since 1982, the W hasn’t been an exclusively female university, so the current administration, after all this time, is championing a name change. No more W.

The three names currently being considered are:
* Reneau University (Sallie Reneau lobbied for Mississippi to establish a college for women so that they would have equal educational opportunity. If the administration wants to diminish the association of being an all-female school, why tether the new name with someone whose goal was to establish an all-female school?)
* Waverley University (which, to figure out why this is even being considered, you have to read this. It seems a *real* stretch. Somebody is in love with Sir Walter Scott.)
* Welty-Reneau University (see above for the Reneau explanation, and we all know who the “Welty” is for)

The W is the oldest publicly supported university for women in the United States, and this year marks its 125th anniversary. It seems that the current administration is determined to change the name of the school in the hopes that the title itself will market the university in such a way that it will bring in additional students. In fact, they’re running a survey right now – it’s here – where if you vote, keeping the current name isn’t even an option.

And making things ugly is the mandate from the Mississippi Supreme Court about how the Alumni Association can be affiliated with the school it benefits. This is from their newsletter:

As a result of a ruling by the Mississippi Supreme Court, the historic MUWAeA is no longer formally affiliated with Mississippi University for Women. What this means is that the association no longer receives recognition and support from the university. It does not mean that the Association is disbanded or defunct. On the contrary, according to Association president Kym Gore, “the organization is carrying on its efforts to represent alumnae/I and continuing its good work and service to our beloved W.”

While we would have preferred a court ruling that allowed the association to remain affiliated, “the organization remains a viable, successful organization committed to serving Mississippi University for Women,” Gore said .”Our organization has dedicated itself to MUW for 119 years, and we will continue to work for the benefit of MUW for at least the next 119 years.”

Wow, going after the alumni association can’t be good PR for general goodwill, support, donations, and so forth, even if the alumni decide to try to take the high road and say that they’ll overlook it.

I didn’t go to The W, but especially in this economic climate, it just seems as though this is a battle that shouldn’t have been waged to begin with. Everybody loves the W just as it is.

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