It seems that members of the U of T administration were left wanting more after the results of the Portal Naming Contest were announced in December 2017. Since one naming contest was not enough, UTM launched another earlier this month, this time for the new north building that is scheduled to open in the summer of 2018.
The contest invited UTM staff, students, and faculty to suggest a name for the new north building between February 12 and February 25. Subsequently, a committee formed by UTM’s staff, students, and faculty will review and recommend three names from these suggestions to Dr. Ulrich Krull, the principal of UTM. Krull will, in turn, pass along one name to be approved by the administration.
Though Susan Senese, UTM’s Interim Chief Administrative Officer, called this contest a “community opportunity,” it is highly likely that the results of this contest will generate frivolous responses rather than serious ones.
Undergraduate students make up the largest portion of UTM’s community, and many of these students share and create memes. Outside of the campus context, the results of numerous naming contests in the recent past have been skewed by meme-wielding internet users.
Mountain Dew’s 2012 Dub the Dew contest to name its soft drink resulted in suggestions ranging from “Fapple” to “Gushing Granny.” A public vote in 2016 to name the new UK Polar Royal Research Ship resulted in 124,109 votes for “Boaty McBoatface.” When the Philadelphia Zoo asked the public to name its newborn baby gorilla in 2016, it was bombarded with suggestions of “Harambe,” the gorilla who was fatally shot by a Cincinnati Zoo worker earlier that year after a three-year-old child climbed into his enclosure, and whose death was subsequently memorialized through memes.
U of T’s new portal name, Quercus, was also subjected to similar mockery by members of a Facebook group devoted to U of T memes, who likened it to “Ridiculus.”
Given that “Building McBuildingFace” and “Glassy Squares Boi” — both names derived from memes — have already been suggested, thanks to the U of T subreddit, I doubt that leaving the name up to the UTM community is the best idea. At this rate, students will be attending classes in the “Ignorant and Hurtful Building.”
Zeahaa Rehman is a third-year student at UTM studying Linguistics and Professional Writing.