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November 7, 2017 > Letter to the Editor: WhatÕs in a name?

Letter to the Editor: WhatÕs in a name?

I was very proud to read Laura von Hacht Mattos' letter in your October 24 issue. It is wonderful to see a Hayward citizen stand up and call attention to a grievous wrong done to our proud city, a wrong that can easily be rectified.

Twelve years after the Cal State Hayward name change, I'll bet Mayor Barbara Halliday, Hayward's City Council, and the CSU "East Bay" administration think that the controversy over the theft of our university's name is over and done with.

This couldn't be farther from the truth since 95 percent of Hayward adults in a random poll I've been conducting for several years would like the proud name CSU Hayward reinstated. This issue is only dead if democracy is dead and if the will of Hayward's people does not matter.

For 12 years our city leaders have remained silent on this issue. They are afraid to touch it; they see it as a lost cause, even though they are well aware of how important "branding" is in bringing in new business, especially high-tech, well-paying companies that would consider a real university town a plus.

A dozen years ago CSU Hayward's then president Norma Rees spearheaded the deletion of "Hayward," the name and place of the campus for 46 years, and replaced it with "East Bay," which sounds like the name of a sanitation district, and is not an actual place that can be found on a map. Luckily our campus wasn't on the east side of a swamp!

And Norma Rees stole more than the name. Many thousands of East Bay residents and thousands of people now living all over the world have, in effect, had the university name stolen from their diplomas. I worked very hard to earn my BA and MA degrees from Cal State Hayward, a university that apparently doesn't exist anymore!

This unprecedented name change reversed the direction of all previous CSU campus name changes. In every case since the name change of the first CSU in the 1800s, a broader, regional name has been changed to a narrower, local name.

CSU Chico (city) began as Northern Branch State Normal School of California (state), while CSU Fullerton (city) began as Orange County State College (county). In your wildest dreams, do you think that CSU Fresno or CSU Sacramento would have allowed the names of their home cities to be stolen from their proud campuses?

How many potential students and their parents must ask, "Why does a CSU in Hayward, a city of 153,000 people, more populous than many other CSU host communities, not bear its city's name? Are its administrators ashamed of Hayward?"


Jeff Syrop

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