Firm to survey on mascot name

In an effort to assess feedback on whether students, faculty, staff and alums want to return to the Warrior nickname, the university has hired an outside marketing research firm to help with the information-gathering process.

Advantage Research Inc. in Germantown will be assisting Marquette with the development of different feedback methods, according to Rana Altenburg, vice president in the Office of Public Affairs.

She said hiring outside companies to assist the university with research is a common practice. The university will pay Advantage out of its operating budget.

The firm will work with the university throughout the semester and longer if necessary to evaluate Marquette community members' responses about the Golden Eagles vs. Warriors issue. The goal is to complete the entire process by the next board of trustees meeting in December.

Altenburg said the assessment process stems from the board of trustees' September decision to investigate the issue. She said the process will include focus groups, an online survey and forums.

The feedback processes, which Marquette will streamline with Advantage's help, will enable the university to be as inclusive and objective as possible, according to Altenburg.

"We want to find a way for as many Marquette stakeholders to weigh in as possible," she said. "We're taking this issue very seriously. We need to work quickly."

Focus groups are set to begin in about two weeks. Each group will consist of a small number of randomly selected students, faculty, administration, alumni and other Marquette community members. They will discuss their feelings about the nickname issue.

The information will serve as a base to formulate questions in the online survey, which is set to be available in mid-November, according to Altenburg. Any Marquette community member can participate in the survey.

Those who do not have Internet access will be able to provide the university with their view in another way, which has not been finalized but may be a 1-800 number, she said.

In addition to focus groups and online surveys, the university plans to conduct forums and a fact-finding group to assess opinions, according to Friday's press release.

Marquette will also work with campus organizations, such as Marquette Student Government and the Residence Hall Association to get student input.

Although MUSG is not taking a stance either way on the nickname issue, the organization supports the university's information-gathering process, said president Timothy Lefeber, a senior in the College of Health Sciences.

"I think this will be an opportunity that, when the name was changed in the past, people didn't have," he said.

"You can't just go and make a decision on what a committee says," said MUSG Vice President of Communication Nicole Garland, a College of Business Administration senior. "Any data that the university uses is beneficial."

University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild plans to continue discussing the Warrior nickname with American Indian communities in the area, Altenburg said.