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Students, alumni upset over possible Fayetteville State University name change

Posted February 18

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— Talk of a possible name change at Fayetteville State University is stirring up emotions for students and alumni at the historically black school.

Senator Phil Berger is putting together a bill that would lower tuition at FSU by $500 for in-state students and $2,500 for out-of-state students, but the plan also calls for changing the names and diversity of universities that were established for black and Native American students.

Fayetteville State University is no stranger to name changes. It was established in 1867 as the Howard School for Education of African-Americans. Ten years later, it was renamed the State Colored Normal School in Fayetteville. It became Fayetteville State Teachers College in 1930 and Fayetteville State College in 1963 before adopting its current name in 1969.

“It already changed its name five times, so I think five is enough,” said student Aaliyah Jacobs.

FSU is part of the University of North Carolina system, so a current proposal in the Senate would change the school’s name to UNC-Fayetteville.

The proposed name change is not going over well with some students and alumni.

“I honestly think it’s bad because FSU started out as an HBCU (historically black college or university) and therefore I always think it should stay an HBCU,” said Jacobs. “Seven black men founded this university so I feel like it should stay that way.”

The potential name change for FSU is similar to what happened at the Pembroke State University in Robeson County. The school was originally established for the education of Native American students but in 1996 it became UNC-Pembroke.

State leaders said changes could open schools like FSU to a more diverse student population, but some alumni fear that may change the heritage of the school.

“I think it’s a done job as it is. It’s brought us where we are today and I don’ think we need to be changing the name,” said Cumberland County FSU Alumni Association President Curtis Worthy.

Worthy argued that if the name change is just for the sake of branding, all schools within the UNC system should be renamed as well.

Student Vanessa Kokoszka agreed, saying changing the name to UNC-Fayetteville will take away some of the heritage of the university that was the first black school to open in North Carolina. Not all students were opposed to the change, though.

“The name of the school, everybody’s pride is not going to change. We still won’t be white so I’m not that type of guy,” said student Jason Lee. “UNC-Fayetteville, Fayetteville State, I’m still going to be playing here.”

Other students noted that the name change may actually benefit alumni after graduation.

“You’re applying for a job and on your resume it says UNC-Fayetteville and it might be a little bit more attractive that Fayetteville State University,” said student Haley Wood.

9 Comments

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  • Clayton Mack Feb 19, 2016
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    View quoted thread


    lol. . .

  • Roy Hinkley Feb 19, 2016
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    How does a name change make a university more affordable?

  • Kevin Weidner Feb 19, 2016
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    With a 17% graduation rate for 4 year degrees, I'd bet that Mr. Berger is not attempting to hurt the institution but instead make the school more affordable in the hopes of improving graduation rates.

    As far as changing the "heritage" of the university, aren't we in the process of changing dorm names, defacing historical monuments, and taking down flags from other institutions all over the south?

    I would think that making the university more affordable and thereby attracting a more diverse student body would be a positive.

    What other reason could there be for objecting to these changes?!

  • Clayton Mack Feb 19, 2016
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    It will always be an HBCU. Even with that federal designation, HBCUs have never discriminated against anyone who qualifies for admission. Why is there a perception that HBCUs are only for black students? That couldn't be further from the truth and legislators should ask why aren't students of other ethnic and racial backgrounds considering the system HBCUs?

    This is bloviating.

  • Brandon White Feb 19, 2016
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    It's all imagery people, concern yourself with the substance.

  • Sean Creasy Feb 19, 2016
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    “I honestly think it’s bad because FSU started out as an HBCU (historically black college or university) and therefore I always think it should stay an HBCU,” said Jacobs
    Read more at http://www.wral.com/students-alumni-upset-over-possible-fayetteville-state-university-name-change/15387038/#DDVTryFKV5rWb0t5.99..... But I'd be deemed a racist if I said that about a white college.

  • Matt Wood Feb 19, 2016
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    More concerning than the name change is this little nugget:

    "Senator Phil Berger is putting together a bill that would LOWER tuition at FSU by $500 for in-state students and $2,500 for out-of-state students."

    In other words, he wants to set up the university to fail. Not only that, but setting tuition rates is supposed to be the job of the UNC Board of Governors. Sounds like a power grab, to me (though IDK why, the board is already stacked with conservatives).

  • Keith Morgan Feb 19, 2016
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    Anyone remember when the Chapel Hill grads in the legislature tried to change NCSU to UNC-Raleigh and settled for "North Carolina State University of the University of North Carolina at Raleigh" back in 1966? Massive waste of money to print new letterheads, business cards, etc., all of which was reversed in a year or two.
    The FSU name change is just another distraction ploy by the yahoos in the legislature trying to keep us from focusing on the damage they've done to the state.

  • Craig Elliott Feb 18, 2016
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    “I honestly think it’s bad because FSU started out as an HBCU (historically black college or university) and therefore I always think it should stay an HBCU,” said Jacobs. “Seven black men founded this university so I feel like it should stay that way.”

    The irony is almost palpable.

    The situation is somewhat different, but with the current PC trend to paint everything the same color of beige (beige in this case referring only to a neutral, ambivalent color) it stings a little.

    Why shouldn't we leave history alone, learn from it, embrace the good and reject the bad? By re-branding everything in our world every decade or so we may discard the lessons of the past.