Archive for Friday, September 14, 2007

Fort Hays State students will fight to keep school’s name the same

Petition drive launched in opposition to ‘University of Western Kansas’

September 14, 2007


— Students, staff and alumni at Fort Hays State University are banding together to oppose a proposed name change that university officials say is still under discussion.

One group of opponents has circulated a petition, gathering the signatures of about 250 students who are against renaming the college the University of Western Kansas.

"Once we heard there was going to be a push, we knew we wanted to stop it, and we had to take action quick," said university student Kristina Krones, one of the petition's original signers. "Fort Hays is who we are. We came to Fort Hays because we love the heritage behind it."

A petition group on the social-networking Web site Facebook has also formed. It calls itself "We are Fort Hays State University! Not the University of Western Kansas!" and had nearly 1,100 members as of Wednesday.

University President Edward Hammond said that the name change proposal is in the "very, very embryonic stages" and that students and university officials still have time to discuss the issue before a decision is made.

"I'm glad to see that students are weighing their opinions," Hammond said.

At Kansas University - also referred to as the University of Kansas - there's a lot of surprise but not much concern over the potential change.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway pointed out that several universities in Missouri have changed names recently. Among those, Central Missouri State University became the University of Central Missouri.

"It's not unusual for universities to consider a name change like that," Hemenway said. "The thing for KU to do is to do the same thing we do every day. We get up every morning and think about our responsibility to be the university for the entire state of Kansas."

Hemenway said KU wasn't worried how a name change at Fort Hays could affect KU.

The name change was initially recommended in a report passed by a committee reviewing the university's structure. Talk of a name change evolved from a debate over Fort Hays State no longer being a military establishment.

Also, the report says, "Fort Hays State University carries little geographic representation in an era that requires institutions to focus on their brand, their essence and their image."

The report included several other proposals.

Chris Crawford, assistant provost for quality management and a member of the committee that passed the name change proposal, said he was not surprised by the student reaction.

"There are going to be varying levels of emotion on this topic," he said. "The best argument against it is tradition. But if the students interested in maintaining the status quo hear the other side of the argument, I would hope they would be persuaded."

The university unsuccessfully tried changing its name to University of Western Kansas in the late 1980s.

- Staff writer Jonathan Kealing contributed to this report.


jayhawk2000 10 years, 6 months ago

The only thing I never understand about FHSU is that it's not in Fort Hays. It's in the city of Hays, so why isn't the university called HSU?

So from FHSU to UWK. Wouldn't this encourage a spate of name changes? From Wichita State to Central State. From Pittsburg State to SEKU. From Emporia State to South Central State, or maybe Flint Hills State, that would keep FHSU alive?!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 6 months ago

"or maybe Flint Hills State"

Emporia State went through several name changes in the 70's. Kansas State Teachers College (KSTC) to Emporia Kansas State College (EKSC) to Emporia State University (ESU.) One name that was considered was the Flint Hills University of Central Kansas (FHUCK,) but it was rejected for some reason or other. Among the students there, it's often fondly referred to as Euphoria State, although I don't think there is any serious movement to make that official.

Luxor 10 years, 6 months ago

KU is not -- and never has been -- called Kansas University. The JW has been asked repeatedly to stop using the reference "Kansas University" because it is utterly incorrect.

Tychoman 10 years, 6 months ago

Semantics, Luxor.

They shouldn't change the names of the state universities to coincide with whatever region they're in. Missouri did that a couple of years ago. Southwest Missouri State is now Missouri State, CMSU is now University of Central Missouri, etc.

Keep it the same.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 6 months ago

Committees...You gotta love' matter how easy it is to hate'em. OK. Let's just hate'em.

The next committee will probably recommend naming all institutions by their societal designation, latitude and longitude. KU would become University Latitude = 38.9585, Longitude = -95.2489. It's got a nice ring to it, eh?

Obviously, Fort Hays State University is too crude a name for those liberdull bush hayters out there on the western edge of the central section of I-70 in Kansas. Such militaristic/commercial complex monikers reek of racism, graft, and the rape of Gaia and money is no object to such a liberalph committea party, right? So go ahead and change the paper, signs and online presence. Dumb@$t@rd$!~)

It's Friday! This insanity will pass!?

Tychoman 10 years, 6 months ago

JJ this has nothing to do with politics.

ontheotherhand 10 years, 6 months ago

JJE007 is really right_thinker. Can't you tell? He can turn peanut butter into liberal-bashing. Let's just hope he isn't your office co-worker!

not_dolph 10 years, 6 months ago

Maybe they should call it University of China - Kansas Campus...since that is where Fast Eddie claims thousands of enrollees through his video tape distance learning schtick.

FHSULoyalist 10 years, 6 months ago

I am a student at Fort Hays State University and the creator of the Facebook group "We are Fort Hays State University! Not The University of Western Kansas!" If you are oppsed to this name change and would like to be involved, state your reasons, or just keep track of what is going on, I invite you to join the group. We are now 1,300 members strong and have gotten recognition from Channel 12 News as well as numerous news papers across the state. I recieved an e-mail today from a reporter with a newspaper in Washington D.C. wanting some information on why students are so against the change. Once again we welcome your participation and hope to see you in the group.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.