MUW students take poll on potential university name change

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- A local university is asking its students if they’d support a name change. We’re talking about the Mississippi University for Women.

Over the last month the Student Government Association polled more than 2,000 students to see what they think about making a change to the name of the university.

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Beginning in 1982, the Mississippi University for Women has accepted both men and women into the institution. Since then, some have expressed an interest in a school name that reflects that.

John Jacob Miller is the President of the Student Government Association and says some students have said they feel left out.

“We have a special environment here at the Mississippi University for women. We’re a family. You never want to have someone left out of the family or someone not feel included. We’re working with a different type of dynamic we’re very proud of and we want to make sure everyone’s included and feel a part of the family,” said Miller.

In October, SGA put together a poll asking students if they’d support a name change. Students could either vote yes, no, or no opinion. 828 voted yes. 703 said no. Miller says nearly 79% of the student body voted in the poll.

“There’s no strong majority one way or the other. So we really have to do more leg work, a little more elbow grease work to figure out where these numbers lie, and why,” said Miller.

Students we spoke have mixed opinions. Caitlyn Nodine is following in her mother’s footsteps, attending MUW. She says she doesn’t want the name to change because of the school’s legacy.

“I feel like, you don’t have to change it. I feel like just because is says “women” they want to change it. I don’t think they should change it just because of that,” said Nodine.

Freshman Hanna Pettigrew disagrees. She feels the name needs to be more inclusive. She voted yes in the poll last month and says part of the reason the name change is needed is because of the growth at the school, especially its growth in athletics.

“More people would come if they didn’t think it’s a women’s college. Especially for things like sports and stuff,” said Pettigrew.

This isn’t something that would happen over night and isn’t anything that’s set and stone. The SGA is simply being a voice for the students. No matter the outcome there’s one thing everyone agrees on and that’s keeping the W’s legacy alive.

“We’re very proud of our unique little institution and it’s history and we want to preserve that the best we can. Our students are our lifeblood and it is my job and and the entire SGA to represent them the best we can,” said Miller.

There’s still a lot of research to be done that’ll go in to this including another poll.

The SGA has agreed to open up a referendum inquiry which will consist of multiple steps.

Some of you may remember about ten years ago this came up which Miller says had a hand in a bit of re-branding to call the school the “W.”