By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published May 11, 2005 at 1:28 PM

{image1} Marquette University's Board of Trustees did a 180 today, reversing its nickname decision from last week. After a resoundingly negative reaction from students and alumni, the university dropped the "Gold" nickname, and re-opened discussions about what, if anything, will replace the "Golden Eagles."

"We have spent the past week listening. We heard you," said John Bergstrom, chairman of the Board of Trustees. "The decision to change the nickname to Marquette Gold generated a response that we did not expect from Marquette stakeholders. We regret that we disappointed them and we want to respond to those concerns. We've established a new process today so that your voices can be heard. It's transparent, it's inclusive and it's easy."

One name that won't be considered, however, is "Warriors."

"While I recognize that some people are disappointed that we are not reinstating the Warriors nickname, we cannot teach one principle about respect for human dignity in our classrooms and then fail to act by that same principle when making decisions," Father Wild said. "The Warriors nickname will always be part of our proud athletics tradition, and we will honor that tradition. But we live in a different era than when the Warriors nickname was selected in 1954. The perspective of time has shown us that our actions, intended or not, can offend others. We must not knowingly act in a way that others will believe, based on their experience, to be an attack on their dignity as fellow human beings."

The Warriors nickname was used from 1954 through 1993, but former president Albert J. DiUlio led the charge to replace the name in 1994. A student election lead to the name Golden Eagles beating out the Lightning.

The Board of Trustees announced a new process by which a new athletics nickname will be chosen and also announced the formation of the Marquette Nickname Advisory Committee made up of representative students, alumni, faculty and staff. The process will include:

  1. Within the next two weeks, a list of as many as 10 names will be presented to the Marquette community. All the names presented will be selected from the hundreds of names suggested by the Marquette community during either the 1994 or 2004 nickname processes. While the final list has not been decided, the list will certainly include some of the obvious names given Marquette's athletics history, including Blue and Gold, Golden Avalanche, Hilltoppers and Golden Eagles.

    There will also be a write-in option, presented with the parameters that votes for Warriors will not be counted, and that all write-in's must be consistent with both our Jesuit, Catholic mission and the Board resolution on Native American imagery

  2. All members of the Marquette community, including students, alumni, faculty and staff will be asked to choose two nicknames from the list, or can offer a write-in option.

  3. The two options receiving the most support from the first vote will be presented to the Marquette community for a second vote. The nickname with the most support in the second vote will then be presented to the President to be announced as Marquette's new athletics nickname going into the Big East Conference.

    Both votes will be binding, and will be conducted on the Web with provisions made for those who do not have Internet access. Members of the Marquette community will be notified via mail and e-mail in the coming weeks about steps for participating in the voting process. More information about the voting process will also be available online.

    The Marquette Nickname Advisory Committee will oversee the voting process and will advise the university in the development of the look of the new nickname, following its selection after the second vote.

According to a news release, Marquette has preliminarily planned that the timing for the nickname process will be as follows:

  • Week of May 23: List of nickname options will be presented to the Marquette community for the first vote. The Marquette community (students, alumni, faculty and staff) will choose two names from the list, or offer a write-in.

  • Mid-June: Second vote will be conducted with the top-two vote getters.

  • By July 1: The winning nickname will be announced.

Following the choice of a new nickname, Marquette will further engage the Marquette community, through focus groups and other forums, in the design of a visual identity for the new nickname, with a new logo to be chosen by the start of the school year. Students will be asked to give input on design and name the mascot (the costumed character appearing at games) in the fall.

Parameters for the nickname selection

The Board agreed that any nickname selected must be consistent with the university's mission and adhere to the resolution passed last September banning use of any Native American imagery or references in Marquette's athletics nickname, logo or mascot. In addition, the new nickname must be selected by Marquette's official entry into the Big East Conference on July 1, 2005. The Golden Eagles will remain Marquette's athletics nickname until July 1.