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University Of Louisiana Naming Debate – How It All Began

University Of Louisiana Sign
University Of Louisiana Sign, KPEL

The controversy behind how the University of Louisiana at Lafayette refers to itself is boiling once again after an article from the Monroe News-Star alleged the university’s use of the term “Louisiana” to refer to its athletics teams is illegal.

The News-Star article cites a University of Louisiana System policy which states that any reference to a “University of Louisiana” must be followed by the appropriate city tag. The same policy states that use of the acronym “UL” must likewise be followed by the city tag.

The use of the two-letter University of Louisiana abbreviation, “UL,” and/or the
phrase “U of L” are prohibited by the university or any of its affiliated organizations
(alumni associations, development foundations, bookstores, etc.). For academic,
public relations, athletic, as well as other purposes not specified, the use of the
University of Louisiana abbreviation must always include the abbreviation for the
municipal location of the institution. For example, ULR is appropriate for University
of Louisiana at Rayne.

All uses of the name “University of Louisiana” must be followed by the word “at”
and the institution’s geographic location. No typographic variations within the name
are permitted. The word “at” must be no less than 50% and the geographic location
must not exceed 100% nor be less than 80% of the University of Louisiana name.
Any institutional use of “University of Louisiana” without the “at” and geographic
location is prohibited. [UL System policy]

The policy was created shortly before then-University of Southwestern Louisiana changed its name to UL Lafayette. In order to make the change, however, the state legislature required that another UL System university make the change as well. Then-University of Northeastern Louisiana agreed to make the change, paving the way for the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

The UL System policy makes no reference to standalone use of the word “Louisiana,” though, said university system president Sandra Woodley.

“We continue to support this policy,” she said, “but it has no enforcement effect on how external parties refer to the university.”

UL has long had posted on its website the appropriate ways in which to refer to the university. The full name of the university is to be used on first reference, the website stated; “UL Lafayette” is also acceptable. “ULL,” “Lafayette,” and “U of L” are never acceptable, according to the website.

When referring to the university’s athletic’s teams, though, the school’s name policy cites “Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns,” “Ragin’ Cajuns,” or any variation thereof.

Click here for Jay Walker's opinion on UL name debate

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