Campus is abuzz with talks of potential name change

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Campus is abuzz with talks of potential name change

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There’s a lot in a name. Names summarize what an organization is all about in just a few words. This is true for Edmonds Community College.  For most students, the acronym EdCC simply rolls off the tongue. However, that may change soon.

College President Amit Singh has been quietly meeting with groups on campus to start the conversation about a potential name change, making the case for the advantages of dropping “community” from “Edmonds Community College” and gathering feedback and concerns about the idea.

Singh broached the subject of a name change with faculty members in the Black Box Theatre during a town hall meeting on Nov. 12. Several weeks before that, he discussed the idea with student government.

“Right now this is just a possibility being explored, and as such is an internal matter not yet ready for public consumption,” Singh said in an email. He declined to go on record about anything else regarding the name change.

Of 34 colleges in the state, just 10 still have “community” in their name, according to the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges website.

At Edmonds, those in favor of the change argue that since the school now offers bachelor’s degrees, such as the Bachelor of Applied Science in Child, Youth and Family Studies, it is no longer strictly a two-year institution and dropping “community” would decrease confusion about the school’s offerings. Several additional bachelor’s programs are in the process of being approved or are in development. Those in favor also argue that the name “community college” has a stigma of being less than ideal for academic success. The college is also working to be more competitive in recruiting international students, for which the words “community college” can be confusing.

But rebranding would also take time and money, and not everyone would see the change as positive. Those who oppose a name change say if Edmonds loses “community,” the college will not seem as locally involved. Some fear that changing the name will diminish EdCC’s emphasis on equal access and opportunity moving forward, and the college’s community-based roots will be left behind.

When Singh broached the idea with the Center for Student Engagement and Leadership (student government) executive board earlier this quarter, that group seemed on board with the change, according to Jason Nimpoeno, officer of academics.

“I’d say it’s a progressive movement for the college,” Nimpoeno said. “If our college decides that we are going to expand our service to have bachelor’s degrees, then I think it’s a really great idea.”

Nimpoeno said he thinks that other student government officers agree with him for the same reasons: it more accurately represents the opportunities present at the college.

At the town hall meeting with faculty, Singh asked those present to indicate whether they thought they might favor a name change. The vote for and against was about half and half, according to faculty members present at the meeting.

A preliminary estimate of the cost for such a change, presented at that meeting, would be about $50,000, which would include changing signage, according to faculty who attended.

Students interviewed seemed to be in favor of the change.

“I think it makes a lot of sense now that we offer bachelor’s programs,” said EdCC student Gavin McRae.

Other students agreed with McRae and the student government officers.

“Yeah, I guess if they offer other programs changing the name would be good,” said student Carlos Lazo. “I don’t really think it would affect the perception of the school that much, so they might as well change it for accuracy’s sake.”

The change, if it is pursued, isn’t imminent, sources said. At the earliest, the proposal wouldn’t come to the college’s board of trustees until next spring. That should provide time for campus-wide comment and discussion of the idea.