Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Is Half a Victory Honestly a Victory?

Charlie Sykes summed up a lot of the main points I was thinking about in this debate but I thought I would toss in my own two cents on the announcement by the Board of Trustees to rescind on their previous decision to accept ‘Gold’ as the new athletic nickname for Marquette University.
Marquette’s Board of Trustees today unanimously reaffirmed its position not to reinstate the Warriors nickname and announced that it would establish a process for stakeholders to select the new Marquette athletics nickname.

First off, this is truly astonishing – two unanimous decisions in a row by the Board of Trustees at Marquette University. Is this some kind of record?! Quick, someone call Guinness! Again, I want someone from the university’s math department to calculate for me the probability of the Board of Trustees coming up with not one, but two unanimous decisions on the same issue. First they were unanimous in their decision to select ‘Gold’ as the new athletic nickname and now they are unanimous in their benevolent wisdom to backtrack on that judgment. What does this say about the Board of Trustees at Marquette University? Believe me, there is quite a lengthy laundry list – they have no spine, they are unorganized, they do not care in the least about the opinions or attitudes of the students or alumni of this university, they are a basic rubber stamp for Father Wild and the liberal Jesuit agenda – and it goes on from there. Secondly, since when did the Board of Trustees ever make a unanimous decision to not reinstate the Warrior nickname? Last time I checked they were only unanimous in their selection of ‘Gold’ as the new athletic nickname. If the Board of Trustees was never in the mind to reconsider the Warrior issue, then why bring it up in the first place? This is why I am honestly baffled at the utter stupidity and arrogance of this board. If you were never in the mind to reconsider the issue of reinstating the Warrior nickname, how hard would it have been to say “Hell, no” when questioned by an alumni offering two million dollars to reconsider? Not that hard! It certainly would have saved them a lot of headaches which they are battling with right now.
The Trustees made the decision after reviewing feedback received in the past week from students, alumni and fans expressing surprise and frustration that their voices were not adequately heard in the decision to change from Golden Eagles to Marquette Gold.

“We have spent the past week listening. We heard you,” said John Bergstrom, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “The decision to change the nickname to Marquette Gold generated a response that we did not expect from Marquette stakeholders. We regret that we disappointed them and we want to respond to those concerns. We’ve established a new process today so that your voices can be heard. It’s transparent, it’s inclusive and it’s easy”

They’ve been listening, huh? Could have fooled me! How does this work exactly, both ignoring us and listening to our complaints on the issue? If they were truly listening to the students and alumni of this university then what was with Father Wild coming out in the middle of the NO 2 GOLD Rally crowd last Friday and declaring that we would stick with ‘Gold’ and that was final, as if to say he had the final say in the matter.

Speaking of Father Wild, the university’s beloved president who was rumored to have threatened to resign from his position if the Board of Trustees did not agree to ‘Gold’ as the new athletic nickname, here he is in double-speak once again on the issue of the Warrior nickname …

“While I recognize that some people are disappointed that we are not reinstating the Warriors nickname, we cannot teach one principle about respect for human dignity in our classrooms and then fail to act by that same principle when making decisions … The Warriors nickname will always be part of our proud athletics tradition, and we will honor that tradition. But we live in a different era than when the Warriors nickname was selected in 1954. The perspective of time has shown us that our actions, intended or not, can offend others. We must not knowingly act in a way that others will believe, based on their experience, to be an attack on their dignity as fellow human beings.”

If the Warrior nickname is as offensive or degrading to the quality of the human dignity as Father claims it to be then why on Earth would we ever respect, let alone honor, it as a hollowed tradition of this university? I am sure that there were quite a few traditions in the southern colleges of this country in which campuses degraded black Americans and honored offensive racial objects as the Klu Klux Klan and the Confederate flag, and yet I doubt that the top brass there now would say that they honor or respect them as hollowed traditions. What way is it Father? You can not have your cake and eat it too. Make a decision on the issue and stick with it for Christ’s sake!

The Board of Trustees announced a new process by which a new athletics nickname will be chosen and also announced the formation of the Marquette Nickname Advisory Committee made up of representative students, alumni, faculty and staff.

Who would care to bet with me that at least half, if not more, of the representatives on this committee will be either on the payroll of the university and/or are basic puppets of the Wild administration and the Jesuit agenda? Wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

1. Within the next two weeks, a list of as many as 10 names will be presented to the Marquette community. All the names presented will be selected from the hundreds of names suggested by the Marquette community during either the 1994 or 2004 nickname processes. While the final list has not been decided, the list will certainly include some of the obvious names given Marquette’s athletics history, including Blue and Gold, Golden Avalanche, Hilltoppers and Golden Eagles.
This is pathetic, honestly pathetic. If ‘Golden Eagles’ was as unpopular an athletic nickname that it required the Board of Trustees to decide on a new one themselves, without student or alumni input, why is it being offered on this list? And after the entire ‘Gold’ fiasco, what would make the Board of Trustees believe that by simply tacking on ‘Blue’ on there it would automatically make it a better decision? Here is yet another set-up from the Wild administration forcing the student body of this university into accepting what they want.There will also be a write-in option, presented with the parameters that votes for Warriors will not be counted, and that all write-in’s must be consistent with both our Jesuit, Catholic mission and the Board resolution on Native American imagery.
2. All members of the Marquette community, including students, alumni, faculty and staff, will be asked to choose two nicknames from the list, or can offer a write-in option.

3. The two options receiving the most support from the first vote will be presented to the Marquette community for a second vote. The nickname with the most support in the second vote will then be presented to the president to be announced as Marquette’s new athletics nickname going into the Big East Conference.

Both votes will be binding, and will be conducted on the Web with provisions made for those who do not have Internet access. Members of the Marquette community will be notified via mail and e-mail in the coming weeks about steps for participating in the voting process. More information about the voting process will also be available at
Conveniently enough as everyone leaves the college campus and starts off on their summer vacations. Anyone else surprised by this move?
The Marquette Nickname Advisory Committee will oversee the voting process and will advise the university in the development of the look of the new nickname, following its selection after the second vote.

So what it is essentially saying, if my theory proves correct, that the Wild administration will have free reign to ensure they receive the decision that they want. Yeah democracy!

Marquette has preliminarily planned that the timing for the nickname process will be as follows:

Week of May 23: List of nickname options will be presented to the Marquette community for the first vote. The Marquette community (students, alumni, faculty and staff) will choose two names from the list, or offer a write-in.

Mid-June: Second vote will be conducted with the top-two vote getters.

By July 1: The winning nickname will be announced.

Father Wild concluded, “We must remember that Marquette University is first and foremost an academic institution. We have great momentum resulting from the accomplishments of our students, faculty and alumni over the past several years. Just last week, we received the largest single donation in university history with a gift of $28 million that will transform our College of Communication. For the third consecutive year, we celebrate the fact that students are applying to Marquette in record numbers. Marquette has risen in national academic rankings. The campus has undergone a physical transformation, and Marquette has enjoyed the most successful fund-raising period in its history, raising more than $300 million during the current comprehensive campaign. These are the true measures of a great university”
Honestly, I never thought Father Wild and the Board of Trustees could be more arrogant or pompous in their demeanor toward the students and alumni of this university then they were in the previous week but they have clearly proven me wrong here. Congratulations, ladies and gentlemen!