The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Dixie State University (DSU), located in St. George, Utah, is considering changing its name to Utah Polytechnic State University in order to avoid being associated with the slaveholding South (June 25th issue).
DSU is by no means the only school grappling with an unsavory moniker in these linguistically sensitive times. Here are 10 more institutions that are currently being pressured by various constituencies to change their names:
Colby College (Waterville, Maine): Colby was the preferred cheese of plantation owners in the antebellum South, and it’s featured in several major scenes in the film Gone with the Wind where appetizers are served to privileged white people. Faculty will vote in the fall on a proposal to change the college’s name to Gouda.
University of Tulsa (Tulsa, Oklahoma): When read backwards, “Tulsa” becomes a vile sexist slur. Enough said.
Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island): “Brown” appropriates the name of an entire BIPOC subgroup and uses it to characterize a school that is largely white. No way this is acceptable in 2021.
Dickinson College (Carlisle, Pennsylvania): A slang term for male genitalia is egregiously embedded in the college’s name. A faculty task force recently recommended that the school be rechristened “Kinson College.”
Rice University (Houston, Texas): Highly offensive to China, the world’s largest producer of this vital grain. Rice will rebrand itself as Chili University in 2023, in honor of the Lone Star State’s signature dish.
Mount St. Mary College (Newburgh, New York): A name change became imperative when school officials realized that “Mount” was being used as a sexually aggressive verb in hostile social-media depictions of the college. The Vatican has demanded that the school adopt a new name that shows greater respect for the Blessed Virgin.
Bates College (Lewiston, Maine): The descendants of infamous motel manager Norman Bates, the protagonist in Psycho, has requested a name change. As his great-niece put it, “Uncle Norman had absolutely no interest in liberal arts education. His passions were shower curtains and cutlery, and Bates does not offer a major in either of those.”
University of Idaho (Moscow, Idaho): Another example of a sexist slur, this time against women named “Ida.”
Ball State University (Muncie, Indiana): See “Dickinson College.”
University of Mississippi (Oxford, Mississippi): Lots of bad memories here, associated with plantations, slave owners, racist violence, and mullets. A name change to “University of Canada” is being considered.
Let’s be honest: the time has come for EVERY college and university to take a hard look at what it calls itself.