11.3.19: EDITOR'S NOTE: The Dynamo accepts and publishes opinion pieces from any and all students and majors. Student opinion pieces do not reflect the views of The University of Mount Union, Raider Student Media or its advisors. We encourage you to submit your own opinion piece if you feel strongly about an issue on campus. Counter points to this article can be submitted online and once reviewed will be published as well. Opinion pieces should not contain personal attacks and language should be within our shared community standards.
11.3.19: EDITOR'S NOTE: This piece was edited for grammar and spelling. The tone and context of this opinion piece were not changed from the original.
Before I begin this article, I want to state that this is strictly my opinion and no one else’s. However, these are observations I have made and feel need to be stressed to the community.
That being said, it’s a strange time to be attending Mount Union. I say that because many people I talked to feel that most students have no clue what is going on within the administration. Many students have no clue what our president’s name is (by the way, it’s President Richard Merriman). Most students also have no clue that we are actually getting a new president next school year! So, I guess you might as well forget about our current president’s name anyway. And another major issue that the school recently went through is its disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church. That means we are no longer (accredited but the United Methodist Senate). Did any student know that? Maybe, but probably not.
This issue of students not knowing this about their own school, unless they read their emails (which is an awful way of relaying messages to college students), is related to the fact that our school has zero identity. I heard from multiple professors that we are in an identity crisis right now.
So, if you look at Mount Union on a national level, why do people know about us? Football. The football program is the one thing that is consistent at this school, and it is currently the only thing we have to fall back on to identify ourselves. This is a good thing.
Wherever we walk there is nothing that screams “Mount Union.” For example, if you go to John Carroll University’s campus, it’s easy to identify who they are with their Jesuit Cross prominently displayed around University Heights. They fall back on, and are proud of, their Jesuit Catholic heritage. What heritage do we have now that we aren’t a Methodist school anymore? And if you go to Ohio State, their heritage is deeply rooted in being known as the most prominent university in the state. Why else would they want to trademark the “THE?”
Unfortunately we can’t look at ourselves right now and put anything else to the name “University of Mount Union.” Right now I look at this university stuck in the middle of Alliance, Ohio, and see it as a middle school that sticks its name on the front of the building and calls it a day. Mount Union really needs to think long and hard about how we want to portray ourselves to the world and be more than just a football school. This is why this presidential search that we are conducting right now is critical for the future of this institution. Do we want to go back and be affiliated with a particular faith? Or is there another route we can take to better identify us? And who knows, maybe the students will be better informed this time around.
You can read more about the University’s decision to disaffiliate with the methodist Church here: https://www.mountunion.edu/umc-statement