From the time I was a little boy, most people I know have always referred to the state university in Bowling Green, Ky., as “Western.”
[But] a large headline in Western Kentucky University’s pre-game football and basketball notes packages last season all but screamed: We Are WKU. In smaller type, the school states that it should always be referred to by its full name or by “WKU” — and that it should never be called “Western Kentucky, Western, Western Ky., W. Kentucky or any other variation.”
Whoa, okay there. As someone with a troublesome surname I have some sympathy for this sort of thing. Call the institution the name it prefers, within reason.
That school in Bowling Green (mascot above) is only one of many schools that get grumpy when people use unfavored nicknames. Story reports that the University of Louisiana at Monroe insists on ULM. “not Monroe, La.-Monroe, LAM, La.-Mon., UL Monroe, LMU or any other variation.” The University of North Carolina at Asheville is UNC Asheville or Asheville. “North Carolina-Asheville now insists that the hyphen be dropped.” Miami University says it wants to be called Miami University, Miami University (Ohio) or Miami (Ohio). “Do not use Miami of Ohio or University of Miami of Ohio. The latter are not proper names for our institution,” the school insists, somewhat ridiculously since everyone outside of Ohio calls the school Miami of Ohio when it comes up.
I guess if it’s your university you can try to have some input into your own nickname. But only some input. Beyond issuing a lot of press releases, and printing a lot of banners for sporting events, there’s not really much a school can do. After some point it’s totally out of the school’s control. [Image via]