I've had my spats with Memorial University of Newfoundland over the years. When I was a student, and especially while a student journalist, I disagreed with policies of the university or the way they treated students. And that hasn't changed since I graduated. I disagreed with MUN on different things. For instance, I have never liked the way Alumni Affairs asks for money at Convocation. You have your degree for 30 seconds and there they are asking for a donation, normally of $100 or more. Even Student Aid gives you six months before they start hounding your for money.
Most recently I vigorously disagreed with their handling of the Dr. Chandra scandal. And then there's Wanda Young and other things as well...
And, of course, I disagree with any attempts to change the name of the place. I graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland, not Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. And certainly not from Memorial University.
So when MUN announced its new marketing plan, with Newfoundland conveniently absent, I was deeply annoyed. However, both Cove Blogger and Skylarkd wrote very nice pieces about it, so I was content to let it lie and just link to them.
But then I went and followed one of the links in Skylarkd's post (by the way, that is a seriously nice piece of writing. My compliments) which took me to the FAQ list that MUN has created about the new logo.
It's at that point, once I finished reading it, that I temporarily lost my mind.
Go ahead and read it. I'll wait.
Notice anything missing? How about the fact that the word "Newfoundland" does not appear anywhere in the FAQ (the logo on the top of the page doesn't count). Not even in the section where they explain the name change.
"This form also reflects our origins as a living war memorial and avoids the geographic reference which no longer matches that of the province." They can't even say Newfoundland or Newfoundland and Labrador. It's the province.
I swear to God, I think I'm the graduate of a university that's embarrassed it's in Newfoundland. "If only the university could be some place cool, like Quebec. But no, it's in Newfoundland (and Labrador). Oh well." Followed by a big, dramatic sigh.
This story from the CBC doesn't help much either, what with Victoria Collins saying (it's paraphrased in the story) that she expects some backlash, but a fresh look is needed.
You know, you don't need a genius in marketing, I'm sure, to create a "fresh" look that can put in "of Newfoundland" somewhere in the logo. Skylarkd manage to do it pretty easily.
I appreciate that saying the people running the university appear to be elitist snobs who have a bad tendency to look down their nose at others is much like saying the harbour smells a little funny, but My God. I don't care how much testing MUN did, there is no way the majority of students and alumni think this is a good idea. It almost feels like they're hoping prospective students won't notice where the university is located until they get off the plane in St. John's and discover that this is, in fact, not Florida. Or perhaps in the wake of the Dr. Chandra ethics scandal, they're hoping that people might get the two confused.
"Oh no, Dr. Chandra worked with Memorial University of Newfoundland. This is Memorial University. Different school altogether."
For the record, MUN has done a lot of good things over the years. But when they decide to do something idiotic, they don't do it by half measures, that's for sure. If you're disgusted by this, then please e-mail the university's marketing and communications group at email@example.com, and the university president Axel Meisen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we're lucky, we can kill this before it gets much stupider...and more offensive.