I recently followed a link on the Delphi website and emailed the Advertiser the following editorial on the name change situation. I included a link to the Battle for a Name website at the end. I hope that the paper prints it with the link so people can get the full story.
It has recently come to my attention that pending a vote of the UL student body, the student government will pass a very important resolution. This resolution would specifically request that President Authement actively pursue the dropping of "at Lafayette" from the school's official name. For the school's name to be officially changed, President Authement would have to gain approval from the Board of Regents and the State Legislature. The reasoning behind changing the university's official name to The University of Louisiana is staggeringly persuasive and the history behind the entire story is a prime example of Louisiana Politics at its worst.
The reasoning is clear. The name of our university should be officially changed to "The University of Louisiana" because of the prevailing custom around the nation. Specifically, that the oldest and largest university within a University of State System is referred to as the "University of State." Our state does not have an official "University of Louisiana," but it does have a University of Louisiana System. Because we are the oldest and largest school in the University of Louisiana System, we ARE "The University of Louisiana." Our official name should reflect this. In addition, an examination of the history surrounding the name change reveals a rather peculiar story.
Looking back, the school's name was officially changed to "The University of Louisiana" in 1984. However, soon after this change the Board of Regents filed a lawsuit that sought to have the name changed back to USL. The lawsuit succeeded and the embattled legislature soon changed state law to provide that that a state university's name may be changed only through a vote of the state legislature. Though not a member of the legislature, James H. Wharton then acting chancellor of LSU, was quoted as saying he was concerned that "the new name will result in the university's expansion." Such an expansion would possibly in future years jeopardize Huey Long's archaic "Flagship" ideal for state universities.
The legislature's opposition to the name change is seemingly based on the concern that if we became "The University of Louisiana" our university would grow and create competition for the "Flagship." Ironically, the state legislature had no problems with changing the name of LSU at New Orleans to UNO. Even more ironic is that UNO used the same procedure in acquiring its new official name that our university used in 1984 in attaining the official name of "The University of Louisiana." The fact that the name change is even an issue raises the question: Why is "The University of Louisiana" so difficult for certain people to accept? The changing of our university's name to "The University of Louisiana" would do nothing but good for this area and the state.
The entire story surrounding our school's "Battle for a Name" may be found at http://www.angelfire.com/la3/ulragincajuns/battle.html