LC Name Debate

Published by The Critograph on Aug. 31, 2016
Katherine Graves, Assistant Editor-

Town hall meetings discussing Lynchburg College’s potential name change were held last Monday and Tuesday, and a final meeting will be held this Thursday, Sept. 1.

The meetings involve a PowerPoint presentation and an open forum, all of which are open to students, faculty and staff. The meetings will be transcribed for the Board of Trustees to review and to take into consideration any concerns that are expressed, said Michael Jones, assistant vice president for Communications and Marketing. Further meetings will be held Sept. 6 and 7 to discuss strategic planning and Sept. 12 to discuss the space study analysis.

“It’s not our job to sway you in one direction or the other. It’s our job to share the information with you and get your feelings,” Jones said at Monday’s meeting.

The college is considering options such as “The University of Lynchburg,” “Lynchburg University” and a name involving Central Virginia, President Kenneth Garren told The News & Advance.

At last Monday’s meeting, those attending had questions and concerns about the change. Jenny Hall, assistant professor of Health Promotion and master of the Public Health Program, expressed that people know Lynchburg College by their successful reputation, and that would be lost with a name change.

Similarly, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Jeremy Langett, PhD stated that changing the school name would affect the meaning attached to the school and the “equity” that has been established with students and alumni in the past 100 years.

“We ask the question why does the philosophy of the name matter? When you change the name, you are ultimately disrupting the relationship between the signifier [a symbol representing an idea] and the referent [an idea represented by a symbol],” Langett said.

In favor of the name change, Director of Grants Advancement, Carol Hardin stated she sees benefits of becoming a university.

“In my experience with foundations and government agencies, actually having the name ‘university’ would be a tremendous asset to receive funding for the research, the programs, the institution as a whole,” Hardin said.

The Board of Trustees will review the feedback from the open forums at their meeting in Oct. The decision about the name change will be made eventually by the Board of Trustees at one of their meetings.

Thursday’s town hall meeting will be from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the West Room of the Drysdale Student Center. The strategic plan open forums will be held Sept. 6 and 7 in the East Room of Drysdale. The space study analysis open forum will be held Sept. 12 in the West Room of Drysdale.

When news of the potential name change reached alumni and students last year, a petition against the name change was created on change.org and reached 1,754 signatures out of their 2,500 signature goal.

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