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July 19, 2006

ULM backers have a voice

Give the University of Louisiana at Monroe some credit for its approach to the transition to a new mascot — the Warhawks.

The university has put an emphasis on student, alumni and public access to information throughout the process. ULM has also sought input from across the board. That's important.

The opportunity for public input exists in the current phase of mascot development, but time is running out. Today is the last day that people may suggest names for the official Warhawk sideline mascot — e-mail ideas to It's another opportunity for ULM supporters to have a say in university affairs.

ULM supporters had their say along the way to selecting Warhawks as a nickname replacement for Indians. Now they can help put a name on the bomber jacket-clad Warhawk that will add another element of identity to ULM.

The ULM Student Government Association Senate is expected to announce a decision Thursday. SGA President Rob Carroll said the most popular suggestions would receive weighted consideration, although the most popular choice would not automatically prevail.

People's input matters for a couple of reasons.

First, it could help select the best name for the sideline mascot that will become a tangible piece of identity for ULM and its athletic programs.

The feedback should also help build some connectivity between fans and the new Warhawks mascot.

The transition from the Indians mascot to Warhawks doesn't occur without some bumps and growing pains. Some fans wanted ULM to fight the NCAA to protect he school's traditional nickname. Others preferred other nickname choices. And change always generates some level of resistance and reluctance.

An open process and commitment to input from school supporters give more credibility and validity to the mascot change.

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