The trustees of Metropolitan State College of Denver voted 6-3 Thursday to change the school’s name to Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Auraria Higher Education Center
Auraria Higher Education Center, home of Metro State

The proposal now goes to the legislature, which must approve changes in college and university names, because those names are sprinkled throughout state law. Denver Democrats Sen. Lucia Guzman and Rep. Crisanta Duran are expected to sponsor the bill.

“What was most important to me was to increase the value of degrees for students today and all alumni and students into the future,” said Metro President Stephen Jordan. “It reinforces our heritage; it makes a clear stake in the ground who we are. We are Metro State. We are the Roadrunners.”

Metro has been working for a couple of years on a name change, which trustees felt was important to clarify the college’s image as a full-service academic institution. (Metro now offers some master’s degrees.)

There was wide agreement about changing “college” to “university.” But there was vigorous campus debate about keeping “Metropolitan” in the name, where the word “Denver” should appear and how long the name should be.

Last year the trustees proposed the name Denver State University, but that plan never surfaced in the legislature because of opposition from the private University of Denver.

It was back to the drawing board, and back to negotiations with DU, partially brokered by Democratic Sens. Mike Johnston of Denver and Rollie Heath of Boulder.

The proposed new name is accompanied by a “coexistence agreement” with DU that will govern how the two institutions brand and present their names. Under the agreement, hammered out over five negotiating sessions, Metro agrees not to infringe on DU’s established trademarks or use terms in future marketing and branding efforts.

DU agrees to Metro’s use of the new name and that it won’t oppose Metro’s efforts to win legislative approval or seek trademark protection for the new name.

Two trustees, Melody Harris and Michelle Lucero, said they voted no because they felt the coexistence agreement wasn’t in Metro’s best interests and was too limiting. Board chair Rob Cohen also voted no, expressing concerns that the board had backed down on its full set of goals for the new name.

But, after the vote, Cohen urged the trustees to unite behind the new name and promised to work for its approval by the legislature.

Other names that had been considered earlier were Denver Metropolitan State University, Denver State Metropolitan University and Metropolitan Denver State University. (Get more information on the name change effort.)

Last year the legislature turned Mesa State College into Colorado Mesa University, and legislation is already pending this year to covert Adams State College to Adams State University. Western State College also is studying a possible new name (more information). The issue is listed as a discussion item for the trustees’ Feb. 10 meeting.

If Metro, Adams and Western win name change approval, the only four-year “college” left in the state system will be Fort Lewis in Durango.

🔗Meanwhile at the Capitol

Thursday in the legislature was most notable for what didn’t happen with education legislation.

Senate Bill 12-068, the proposal to ban use of trans fats in any foods served at schools, was pulled off the calendar of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

The Senate Education Committee approved a couple of minor bills, including Senate Bill 12-051, which would encourage school districts to consider new kinds of guidelines for outside contracts. The always-talkative members of Senate Ed managed to chew on that bill for an hour.

The Senate Finance Committee voted 4-3 (Democrats opposing, Republicans supporting) to kill Senate Bill 12-061, which would have diverted some state severance tax revenues to create a fund for rural colleges.