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Lots of disagreement over MUW name change

I wrote a story for this week’s edition of the MBJ that looks at all the discord over the proposal to rename Mississippi University for Women Reneau University.

There has been very little meeting of the minds since MUW President Claudia Limbert announced Aug. 10 that Reneau was the choice. The alumnae association has come out strongly against a name change, suggesting a “re-branding” of the university instead. Business groups are mixed. The Mississippi Economic Council and the Columbus-Lowndes Development Link support it. Some of the Link’s members oppose it. I talked to two of them for the story.

I tried to contact a couple legislators who serve on the Universities and Colleges Committee in both the House and Senate but did not hear back from any until the issue had gone to press. I heard from Sen. Doug Davis, R-Hernando, who chairs Universities and Colleges, as the presses were literally running.

Davis did not come down firmly on either side of the issue, but did say that any conversation and/or debate that centered on higher education in Mississippi was fine with him. Davis and other lawmakers, and the College Board who will have to sign off on the proposal before it can reach the Capitol, will no doubt be besieged by groups advocating for and against Reneau. It’s an emotional issue and both sides seem to have dug in for a fight. Should be interesting.

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