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MUSG recommends renaming The Commons after prominent Marquette community member

Marquette+University+Student+Government+voted+on+a+recommendation+Sept.+17+asking+the+university+to+rename+The+Commons+residence+hall+after+a+notable+Marquette+community+member%2C+alumnus+or+alumna.
Marquette University Student Government voted on a recommendation Sept. 17 asking the university to rename The Commons residence hall after a notable Marquette community member, alumnus or alumna.

Marquette University Student Government voted on a recommendation Sept. 17 asking the university to rename The Commons residence hall after a notable Marquette community member, alumnus or alumna.

Photo by Sydney Czyzon

Photo by Sydney Czyzon

Marquette University Student Government voted on a recommendation Sept. 17 asking the university to rename The Commons residence hall after a notable Marquette community member, alumnus or alumna.

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Marquette University Student Government voted on a recommendation Sept. 17 asking the university to rename The Commons residence hall after a notable Marquette community member or alum.

The recommendation was first drafted by the MUSG executive board, consisting of President Meredith Gillespie, Executive Vice President Valerie Del Campo, legislative vice president Dan Brophy, communications vice president Yesenia Ortega, programming vice president Paige Hunt, finance vice president Brian Kettering and outreach vice president Sara Manjee.

The recommendation addresses the renaming of Wild Commons to “The Commons” after Rev. Robert A. Wild requested his name be removed from the hall title in light of his alleged oversight of an abusive priest during his time as provincial of the Chicago Society of Jesus from 1985 until 1991.

During the meeting, the board said it decided to pose the recommendation to the university after noticing that students were not satisfied with the name “The Commons,” but may prefer the building be named after a person instead.

In the recommendation, which was sent to university officials last Thursday, MUSG offered to assist the university in naming the building to ensure that students have proper input in the decision while still respecting the administration’s power.

“The purpose of the recommendation was not to pigeonhole the university into naming it after someone, but merely give them direction in what we think the students want the building named after,” Gillespie said.

“It is the role of MUSG to actively identify the needs and concerns of the students,” the board said in its written recommendation. “It is important that the university and students actively support and recognize its influential and dedicated alumni who have upheld the guiding values of ‘servant leadership’ and ‘commitment to the greater good.’”

The recommendation was submitted to various administration members and residence hall association members, including chief operating officer Dave Lawlor, director of student affairs assessment, communication and student government Jennifer Reid, vice president for student affairs Xavier Cole, assistant vice president for engagement Stacy Mitz, vice president for planning and strategy Lora Strigens, and executive director of housing and residence life Mary Janz.

Gillespie said the board has not received a response.

Lawlor said that renaming The Commons is a project is so great in scope, it is important to take time to thoughtfully consider.

“Senior leadership has recorded MUSG’s suggestion to name The Commons complex after a notable alumnus, and we will keep that in mind as we consider renaming opportunities in the future,” Lawlor said.

The board presented the recommendation to the student senate during its weekly meeting Monday. The senate reviewed the recommendation, debated, made amendments and voted on it in the same night.

Del Campo said that time was of the essence in this decision, so students have time to adjust to the new name and stop calling it “Wild.”

“People will forget that it’s The Commons and not Wild because it’s already so ingrained,” Del Campo said. “Having it named after another person would get people to call it something else other than Wild.”

By submitting the recommendation now, Gillespie said MUSG hopes to show that it recognizes and respects this process.

“It’s about being sensitive to the process afterwards if they do accept the recommendation but also showing the student body that this is something that’s been on our minds and something we care about,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie said MUSG will go through the extra effort to make sure something happens as soon as possible.

“We’re just hoping to pick up the conversation with whomever it is most relevant,” Brophy said. “We’re not completely sure yet who is going to pick this up, but our hope is that along the way somebody will figure it out and get in contact with us, and we’ll figure it out from there.”

The members of the board said they hope this recommendation will benefit both the students and the university as a whole.

“Having students put their own inputs into who gets this building named after them is important,” Del Campo said. “Students are definitely the ones who make Marquette, and for them to feel that they were a part of this process would be really good for them and good for Marquette, too.”

Brophy said he hopes the university sees this as an opportunity to dig deep into a vast network of alumni and find someone who truly deserves to have a building named after them “not just because they donated to the university, but because they came from the university and donated something to their greater community, whether that be in Milwaukee or elsewhere.”

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