Nickname issue still unresolved

After an eight-and-a-half-hour meeting Wednesday, the Marquette University board of trustees decided to table its discussion on the nickname issue.

The board preferred to not make a decision at its last quarterly meeting of 2004 because a thoughtful decision-making process is in the best interest of the university, something that couldn't be accomplished seven months after the topic was raised, according to Brigid O'Brien, director of University Communication.

"The board will take the time it needs to do this right," she said.

The trustees examined feedback from focus groups, student forums, a fact-finding committee, dialogue with the American Indian community and an online survey to help them determine the best course of action.

O'Brien said the board had a productive discussion and members may release parts of the survey to the public after they reach a final decision.

University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild said the board needs more time to "thoughtfully consider all" the information and make a decision "consistent with our Jesuit, Catholic" values.

He said today's postponement should be kept in perspective.

"Marquette University is first and foremost an academic institution committed to educating men and women as well as having a faculty engaged in teaching and research," Wild said in a press release. "We must not lose sight of our mission."

The news disappointed a few students, including Timothy Lefeber, Marquette Student Government president and College of Health Sciences senior.

Lefeber said a rushed decision would not have been constructive and respects the board's decision to wait but looks to the next step.

"All we can do is engage students in the process," Lefeber said. "We'll see what role the students will have."

MUSG passed a resolution Sunday asking the board to make a decision at the meeting.

While students from opposing camps expressed frustration, they said they will continue their efforts to gain support for either the Golden Eagle or the Warriors nickname.

"Personally, when 40,000 people have already spoken out and said this would hurt human dignity, I don't see any other choice," said Megan Martin, a College of Nursing senior and supporter of the Golden Eagles nickname. "But it's more time for education."

The delayed decision gives Students For Warriors more time to organize, said Dan Maciejewski, a sophomore in the College of Education and member of the group.

"We welcome the opportunity to do more work," he said. "We plan on continuing our efforts."

According to O'Brien the board has not set a deadline for the resolution of the issue but will revisit the debate at its next meeting in March.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on Dec. 9 2004.