Wednesday, May 18, 2022
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Make sure student voices are heard in name change discussions

When Chancellor Leo Morton announced a future discussion pertaining to a potential name change for UMKC, many people likely cocked their head to the side and asked, “Why?”

The better question to ask is, “Why does it matter?”  How UMKC, or the University of Kansas City (UKC) if the name change takes place, carries on after the decision is made is what’s most important.

Transitioning to a new name shouldn’t inhibit the goals and values of the campus.  Advances are made each semester to better the campus in every way possible, including new construction, student-faculty connectivity and overall consideration for what students want from their education.  As long as the debate over which name-change decision should be made doesn’t distract from more pressing issues, no harm can come from opening the dialogue between students and administration on an issue affecting everyone involved.

If UMKC students feel they’re involved in this significant decision, the relationship between students and administration will strengthen.  Trusting authority isn’t always at the top of college student’s to-do list.  Assurance of research and thorough consideration of how this change would affect the campus also helps to eliminate skepticism.  This proposal was created with meticulous consideration and is worth exploring.  And while a major concern is the price of changing the name, it costs nothing to ask questions and have discussions.

Diverting from the stigma that UMKC is overcast by Mizzou won’t alleviate the misconception.  Retracting back to UKC doesn’t eliminate the university’s association with the University of Missouri system.  If there is an outstanding disposition against another school from the system, this should be addressed by reaching out to the campus and discussing how to better unify both student bodies.

A name change could give the campus an empowering stature boost, allowing a metaphorical disconnect from the UM system.   It would make the university more discernible against the other schools in the system.  And just face it, this institution will never possess an acronym that is easy to pronounce in two syllables like UMSL, so there is no point in trying too hard.

rbrooks@unews.com

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