Friday, June 10, 2005

Golden Eagles or Hilltoppers? Neither.

We won’t be voting in the new round of the Marquette nickname election.

Of course, somebody who really, really likes “Golden Eagles” or “Hilltoppers” will have no trouble going online and voting for their favorite.

But how many people is that?

The best thing that can happen in this election is for relatively few people to vote. In the first round, one could write in “Warriors.” The University refused to count it, but clearly a huge number of people did that. That was doubtless one of the reasons for the large number of votes: people could vote for the nickname they really wanted.

A vote much lower than the first round says “we don’t really like or want either of those names.” It says, pretty clearly, “it’s Warriors we want.”

It’s true that if “Golden Eagles” wins, the University will be terribly embarrassed to have returned to a nickname that the University’s own survey, biased strongly in favor of “Golden Eagles,” showed was viewed as wimpish and insipid. The obvious conclusion will be that more people like “Golden Eagles” than any alternative the University allowed. But it will be equally obvious that the vast majority preferred the nickname the University didn’t allow: Warriors.

On the other hand, there may be a bit of residual loyalty to “Golden Eagles” among some students and younger alumni, so for those of us who want “Warriors” back, having the third nickname in eleven years - and having one that nobody has any attachment to – is a dandy outcome.

In sum, there is no particular reason to prefer “Golden Eagles” to “Hilltoppers” or vice versa. Under those circumstances, not voting at all sends the right message.


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