New name for Mary Washington College sparks controversy – noteworthy news – Brief Article
Mary Washington College’s board of visitors voted last month to recommend the new moniker “University of Mary Washington”–after students, faculty and alumni balked at more drastic name changes.
Earlier a committee voted 10-9 to make “Washington & Monroe University” its first choice for a name covering the undergraduate and graduate schools at the Fredericksburg college.
But some critics said excluding “Mary” from the new moniker could be construed as sexist. Students marched and chanted, “Who’s the Bomb? George’s Mom” and “Hell No, Wash-Monroe” during a rally in support of their school’s namesake.
The board discarded the committee’s recommendation and voted unanimously to submit the name “University of Mary Washington” to the General Assembly, which must approve of the change. Students and others who gathered to learn of the vote applauded.
The new name would link the school’s undergraduate liberal arts campus in Fredericksburg and its James Monroe Center for Graduate and Professional Studies in Stafford County.
The moniker also would add an element of prestige as Mary Washington attempts to boost its image nationally and recruit students, said visitors board chairperson Dori Eglevsky. People who see “university” in a name assume a school will be more affordable and more rigorous academically, she said.
Ninety-one percent of the nearly 1,500 students and two-thirds of the 755 alumni responding to surveys favored “Mary Washington University” as the umbrella name. Committee members apparently rejected that name because the undergraduate school would then become “Mary Washington College of Mary Washington University,” which sounds redundant.
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