Jan 13, 2014 5:14 PM by Letitia Walker
The Sun Belt Conference has released its "Reference Guide" for how each university is to refer to the other. In the guide, they take a stance on the Lafayette and Monroe naming controversy. The guide indicates UL-Lafayette should be used in a first reference, and UL-L can be used for second references. They say UL-Monroe should be used in first references, then ULM for second references.
In a statement, officials with the conference say they worked closely with each university and all references have been approved by each Sun Belt President or Chancellor. We have calls out to both UL and University President Joseph Savoie for comment. The Sun Belt says they encourage the universities and media partners to use the guide for consistency, however the references cannot and will not be mandated.
Back in October, we told you about an article in a Monroe newspaper that criticized the University of Louisiana at Lafayette over using "UL" only. The issue arose primarily because of UL games being carried nationally on ESPN2. During those games, announcers sometimes referred to the team as "Louisiana" or "Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns."
"I feel (UL president) Dr. (Joe) Savoie understands the issue is sensitive to our fans," ULM President Bruno told a Monroe reporter last year. "It's actually offensive to our fans."
Aaron Martin, director of UL's Office of Communications and Marketing, said the university's commitment to preserving and protecting its complete name is evidenced by the federal registration of "University of Louisiana at Lafayette".
"Our policy is to use the entire name in first reference," Martin said. "UL Lafayette can be used as an abbreviation in second reference."
As far as references in other media, like the Ragin' Cajuns appearances on ESPN2, there is no legislation to dictate the way networks address the universities they cover.
When then-University of Southwestern Louisiana first sought to change its name to the University of Louisiana in 1995, legislators representing other state schools resisted. Several years later, compromise legislation was passed that allowed the change as long as two or more schools agreed, and the university followed several specific stipulations in the branding and presentation of the university.
Among those stipulations were that the University of Louisiana title would be followed by the municipality -- like UL Lafayette, UL Monroe or, as in the legislative example, UL Rayne.