Matthew Warnock is right on target (Letters, IUP Magazine, Summer, 2006) when he describes the difficulty of explaining to people “what in the world Indiana University of Pennsylvania is.” I’ve had the same experience for more than thirty years. The need to select a new nickname makes this the perfect time to change the name of the institution. The University of Western Pennsylvania or a variant makes sense, as do other regional names, such as the University of the Alleghenies or Conemaugh University. Deciding on an appropriate nickname for any one of these would be a cinch. I look to our senior administrators to take a leadership position on this issue.
—Michael Bezilla ’72
Regarding the use of “Native Born American” symbols, names, mascots, etc.: I was born and raised in the town of Indian(a), Indian(a) County, Pennsylvania. Graduated from Indian(a) High School and we were the “Little Indians” as opposed to the “Big Indians” at Indian(a) State Teachers College (now Indian(a) University of Pennsylvania). For decades the mascots at both schools have been Indians—oops!—Native Born Americans, complete with buckskins, tomahawks, feathers, and tom-toms and a source of great pride to the schools and to the community of Indian(a) and the County of Indian(a).
Local history tells us all of the above came about to “commemorate the early prevalence of the American Indian.” Please tell me how we have denigrated these people.
Perhaps the NCAA would also have us change the name of the city, the county, and the schools so that “INDIAN” appears nowhere.
Hey, NCAA! Drop the politics and concentrate on the real abuses in Collegiate Athletics.
—August (Pete) McKee ’49