On July 26, 2023, Montclair State University unveiled its new brand identity guidelines, alongside a new logo for the university. The new logo puts much more emphasis on “Montclair” than before, and President Koppell expressed his desire for the abbreviated name of the school to be “Montclair” rather than “Montclair State.”
That’s fine and all, but who cares? What does this accomplish?
Much like many of the other policies, events and “upgrades” from Koppell’s tenure, this latest stint comes off as little more than a vanity move. What is the sin of being a state university? The proclaimed reasoning behind it is to expand the reach of the school past the borders of New Jersey, but as state universities are typically known for being much more affordable, it reads more as an effort to not come off as a “poor people” school.
And if the plan is to attract more out-of-state students, I have another question. Where do you plan on putting them?
It’s been no secret that this semester has been a headache for both commuters and residents alike, thanks to the growing freshman classes. If the attempt was to make the university’s outreach extend past New Jersey, would it not make more sense to give those new out-of-state students somewhere to go?
Regardless of the expressed intention of this new messaging, the overall impression is one that lower-class students are less and less welcome at Montclair State. With the rapidly rising tuition and the mandatory commuter meal plan, this school, which many people such as myself choose for its affordability and value, is becoming more and more prohibitively expensive, and in the name of what?
Additionally, the rebranding itself will be costly for the university. Every student worker with the old logo on their work shirt will now be getting a new one to reflect the change. Signs, welcome mats, banners and stickers were all made obsolete overnight in the name of yet another vanity project from our fearless leader.
So, what are some other projects that might be worth the time and money that has been spent on a lateral move in logos and dining services?
Well, Calcia Hall is long overdue for a revamp, seeing how little it has changed since its inception in the 1960s. Bohn Hall and Freeman Hall still have no air conditioning, in spite of heat waves that are now stretching well into September.
Perhaps the sickest irony is that, even though the university can spend all this money, in the spring 2023 semester the Graphic Design department ran out of money in its budget for paper. Literal sheets of paper.
Eventually, the sort of hubris that leads to this rebranding will blow up in the school’s face. But it won’t reflect on people like Koppell, or the administrators he surrounds himself with. No, instead, it will reflect on the students. It will be the students left wanting basic necessities from a university that is forcing growth it cannot sustain without new housing, parking and renovations they have proven themselves to be wholly unwilling to make.