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UH-Downtown renaming update

As we know, UH-Downtown has been looking to change its name since 2008. After an unsuccessful first attempt to get consensus, it’s trying again and seems to have settled on City University or Houston City University as its preferred replacement moniker. The consensus part, they’re still working on that.

[N]ot everyone is convinced the 36-year-old school needs a new name.

“I think it’s detrimental,” said Victoria Chadwick, who is completing her first semester at UH-Downtown. “It’s an absolute waste of money.”

Other students worry future employers won’t recognize the new name, and that their achievements as students under the current name will be forgotten once a new name is adopted.

[…]

Student concerns ranged from the specific — what name will be on my diploma? — to more general issues about the word “city,” which some students felt suggested a community college. UH-Downtown offers bachelors and master’s degrees.

Students enrolled before the name is changed could choose the name printed on their diplomas, said Sue Davis, executive director for public affairs at the school. Diplomas for those enrolling after change, tentatively planned for fall 2011, would bear the new name.

Alumni could request a duplicate diploma with the new name.

Maybe someone should ask alumni of the university formerly known as Southwest Texas State what their experience was when it changed its name in 2003. My suspicion is that the confusion effect is short-lived, but there’s no reason to guess when you can ask about it. The question of whether or not the proposed alternatives are worth changing the current name to, that’s another matter.

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One Comment

  1. UHD Prof says:

    The Chron piece says:

    “Faculty and staff at first generally opposed the name change, but many now consider it inevitable. And at least some say they consider one or both of the proposed new names acceptable, even preferable.”

    The process last year was a mess and produced no consensus. The process this year has been less transparent, less democratic, and even more insulting to our intelligence. After months of “studying the problem,” the outside firm appeared and gave us two low-grade “choices” and got the heck out of Dodge (after cashing their check).

    None of this has any support at UHD. The Chron piece uses the lazy, weaselly formulation of “at least some” who support the new “choices” to suggest that it isn’t so bad. Um, no. I teach at UHD. Virtually no one likes the suggested names and no one likes the way in which this process has been forced on us. All of this is coming from UH, which clearly has an overdeveloped sense of paranoia. If the President of UH and the Chancellor of the UH System were not merged offices, then none of this would be happening. We’re getting rolled.

    You bring up Southwest Texas State. That’s not comparable, because to go from University of Houston-Downtown to “Houston City University” or the ridiculously generic “City University,” is a downgrade. Forcing a growing, improving university to downgrade its name at a time when the state is in dire need of as many good universities as possible is insane. In fact, I can’t think of any university, anywhere, ever, that has changed its name *to something less appealing.*

    This is by no means a done deal. If the name is changed to one of these clunkers, when the enrollment numbers plummet there will be a very messy aftermath.