Self-Reliance, Grit, Courage …
“The world needs more cowboys” was the University of Wyoming marketing slogan last summer, emphasizing that anyone with the above caliber of traits could be a cowboy.
Remember several years ago how Evergreen State and the University of Missouri caved to identity politics demands?
Not so the University of Wyoming, cheerily reports the WSJ.
Cowboys Portend Racism, Sexism, Heterosexism?
This being the American campus in 2018, more than two-dozen faculty complained. Communications professor Tracey Owens Patton said, “what goes behind the term cowboy” is “erasure, racism, sexism, heterosexism, and genocide.” The university’s Committee on Women & People of Color wrote in a letter that the marketing campaign “risks casting UW as a place where only people who identify with white, male, and able-bodied connotations of ‘cowboy’ belong.”
Ignoring Identity Scolds
Despite the griping, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously in July to keep the slogan. Students, alumni and sports fans apparently weren’t offended. The university bookstore sold out of “the world needs more cowboys” T-shirts the first week they hit the shelves. Responding to demand, the University of Wyoming put the slogan on other products and sold roughly 5,000 items in the first six months.
An Off Campus Hit, Too
A campaign ad video had half a million views online—nearly the equivalent of Wyoming’s state population. After seeing the digital ads, some 18,000 viewers clicked on the link and gave their information to recruiters. Enrollment numbers won’t be in until later this year, but “it’s pretty clear there’s been an increase in interest,” spokesman Chad Baldwin says.
Best of Show
Competing against more than 1,000 colleges, the University of Wyoming’s video won “best of show” in the Educational Advertising Awards competition, and the overall “the world needs more cowboys” campaign got a silver award. The university also won regional awards from the American Advertising Federation in a competition not limited to higher ed.
Take Heart and Cowboy Up
The social-justice warriors may try to lasso administrators into submission, suggests the WSJ, “but they don’t reflect genuine public opinion.”