A new name and the worries it brings

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 at 7:27 PM
A new name and the worries it brings by Emma McNeeley
Pictured above is one of the three options for the university logo. Photo: California University/TNS

Since the announcement of the western integration of Edinboro, Clarion and California universities, there have been questions and confusion abound. Differing opinions for and against the integration have surfaced and led to a larger discussion within the impacted communities.  

I have personally wondered what an integrated education would be like, and if students can at least hold on to their school’s individuality. The advancing integration has led others to be worried about the name on their degree, and the fact that they picked a school that is now going to undergo a major change. 

Because of these fears, Edinboro University’s Interim President Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrson has attempted to console concerns and clear things up. Based on how emails from the university had been phrased before the new name was announced, it seemed our campus name would be involved. I think that students all thought the new name would be small and each campus would just be called its original name. That way, students could keep the unique traits of their chosen university. 

However, on Oct. 14 each university announced the new name of the integrated university: Pennsylvania Western University, or “PennWest” for short. With such a plain name, I assumed the school would be referred to by its campus, similar to Penn State Behrend and other branch campuses. But it seems this name will be seen as the main thing, and the campus names are just kind of there. I feel as though that this is why the name change is so upsetting.  

There has been a reply from many students online, that more sense. I even I decided to try my twist on. Some say that the name could have been Tri-West. I think it could have been Tri- West: Edinboro, Clarion and California. The list of campuses makes it feel like we still have our individuality, but are still merged. 

The outcry over the new name could have been prevented. Currently, students are voting on a logo design with three different options. If the university had let students vote on a name, or even submit ideas and vote, maybe there could have been a middle ground. 

There is also concern amongst students regarding their diplomas. I want mine to say Edinboro, and according to those involved, it will have the student’s campus listed. But we don’t know how it will be listed. Will it be listed in a small print below PennWest? Or will it be the same font size and still show the decision that the student made? Edinboro students selected Edinboro. Hopefully, this will be understood, and diplomas will indicate the campus each graduate selected. 

There have been a handful of people who don’t see the point in making a whole new name. If they want the schools to keep names for athletics and their own traditions, why promote one overall name? If something simple could have been provided to tie them all together, student input would have helped. 

The Spectator asked for input on our social media, asking “what are your thoughts on the new “PennWest” university name” via an Instagram poll. Some said that alum and students were being too emotional. However, I think those students fail to realize that students picked a school they liked. Students didn’t pick PennWest, and having alumni speak out in agreement is validating and makes students feel understood. 

If the goal of the western integration plan is to have one curriculum while staying unique to each university, a simple name is the way to go. Whereas now, it appears that the individual school names will be listed smaller on diplomas, and the PennWest title will be overshadowed. However, there has been no official announcement regarding what student diplomas will look like following the official integration of Edinboro, Clarion and California universities.

Emma McNeeley is a news editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com

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