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The Blue & Gray Press | July 20, 2019

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Open Letter: The Blue & Gray Press explains the change


B&G-LOGO-(1)To the University of Mary Washington and Fredericksburg communities, 

On August 18, the University of Mary Washington student newspaper announced a revamping, which included the announcement of a new name, The Blue & Gray Press. Since that date, the announcement has been interpreted in some media circles in a manner that misrepresents our decision and intention.

We, as the editorial board, would like to emphasize that the main reasoning behind changing the name was to better connect the newspaper with the student body. As it stood, the previous name of the publication did not have a direct connection to the school community. Therefore, it did not reflect the university it served in the way college newspapers, and all school organizations, should.

The editorial board has no intention of disrespecting the history upon which our school rests. We specifically chose a new name that represents the spirit of the school and acknowledges the history of UMW and Fredericksburg’s region. The name Blue & Gray Press, which incorporates our school colors, respectfully presents a powerful image of school spirit, with a nod toward local history.

The Bullet, a name related to the word bulletin” and the phrase “news as fast as a bullet,” had become dated and no longer represented adequately the student body nor the university. Blue and Gray symbolize both the community’s history and our school’s spirit. By choosing The Blue & Gray Press as our name we are connecting the past with the present to honor both our beautiful city’s history and our student body’s pride in an identifiable and meaningful way.

The Blue & Gray Press is a symbol of the school it serves and the locale in which it publishes. The name expresses our desire to be an even greater part of both communities in our shared future.

We understand and appreciate that some alumni and others within the UMW community, especially those who may have worked for The Bullet, may have regrets about this new direction. Changing our name is the first of many steps we are taking to revamp how student media reaches the UMW community more effectively. Stay tuned for changes in the design and the way we report the news to our community.

Announcing a new name is a powerful and symbolic way to initiate these changes.  As independent student media, the decision to change the name of the newspaper was not in the hands of the administration, but rather an effort by the editorial board to better connect with the students and community.

One thing has not changed: The Blue & Gray Press remains your school newspaper. We are forever thankful to those journalists who came before us. It remains our intention to honor them with the kind of quality journalism they produced and would respect. We hope to continue in the tradition of fair and honest journalism and constantly strive to better serve the University of Mary Washington community.


  1. Brendan

    Under whose authority was decided that the student newspaper needed to undergo “a revamping” so significant that it would eradicate the name of a publication almost a century old? Whatever changes may come to Mary Washington or the student run newspaper, I doubt they are more significant today than at any other point in the University’s rich history. The Bullet is a legacy, and while it has always been student run and organized it’s disappointing to see that a group took it upon themselves to rebrand something they have no ownership over. The University adopted the Eagle as their mascot late in their history as an institution, what’s to say the school’s colors would never change? Does the student body really think of a color scheme when they think of everything that is associated with their university? Representation and symbolism are always changing, but when you adjust a historical namesake I wish it wouldn’t be done under the guise of creating a greater sense of community. Won’t it not alienate alumni who have always depended on The Bullet for their student news? If you want to revamp how you present stories and changes to the school that’s great; transparency is always necessary. However, a rebranding of a historic institution should not be left to a group of newspaper staff and them alone. The Bullet is about community and this decision feels as though a wedge has been drawn between the university’s community and the newspaper itself.

  2. Dave W.

    Silliness abounds in our country in the form of political correctness and downright stupidity. A young girl in Tennessee is suspended from school for saying, “Bless you,” students in California schools can’t wear American flag T-shirts because they might offend Mexican-Americans, and we can’t call immigrants who break the law to enter our country “illegal.” And now the inanity has made its way to Fredericksburg, to the campus of the University of Mary Washington. The editorial board of the student newspaper has decided that the paper’s name “propagated violence and did not honor our school’s history in a sensitive manner.” [As I write this, the air in the room is stiflingly hot, and I’m sweating bullets.] Apparently, the paper’s name was “insensitive” and “inappropriate.” On my bullet train ride from New York City to Washington, D.C., yesterday, I came up with a list of bullet points to refute their reasoning. But my list won’t change their narrow minds – I thought college was supposed to expand your thinking. Besides, the editorial board already has decided to name the paper The Blue and Gray Press, which honors the Civil War history the “university stands upon.” Hmm. Weren’t the Gray guys fighting to retain slavery? Oh, well, I suppose I’ll just go back to listening to the radio – Jason Aldean’s Burnin’ It Down, climbing the country charts with a bullet!

  3. Thomas


  4. Ben S.

    You should have named this The Paper of Northern Aggression instead. If the reference to “bullet” in the paper is the reason for the change, why not just change it to “bulletin” instead. It seems like you’re trading one possible controversy for another.

  5. Steve

    Completely agree.

  6. Neil Motter

    I was a proud member of the class of 88. A bit less proud now.

    Shame on you. Error and hypocrisy. Abandon history for political correctness stating reasons which are wrong to begin with.

    As reported by the Free Lance-Star.

    The newspaper announced the change in a release to the UMW community Monday.

    “The editorial board felt that the paper’s name, which alludes to ammunition for an artillery weapon, propagated violence and did not honor our school’s history in a sensitive manner,”

    Artillery fire shells, guns fire bullets.
    A name or the word bullet propagates violence? Not sensitive enough? Or just anti Second Amendment?

    I am glad to see you going to school where you are. Please pay attention and learn in history and poli sci classes. There is hope for you yet.

    Neil Motter

  7. Fleur de Lulz

    Leave your imprint on UMW through the articles you write, not the ludicrous changes you make.

  8. Eleanor Redmond

    Parents of you on the Bullet staff should demand a refund of your tuition. I don’t believe you are not paying attention. I suspect the school has gone over to the PC bog. The first amendment and the second amendment go hand in hand and I don’t believe you know the purpose or value of either.

  9. Eleanor Redmond

    Hillsdale has their Constitution course online for free if you think you could handle it. Maybe you could report on how subversive it is in your “Civil War magazine.”

  10. Kevin Hickerson

    As a former Bullet editor, I think it’s a bold step you all have made as a group. After reading your reasoning, I totally understand where you are coming from. I didn’t get why we were called the “Bullet” either. The Blue and Gray Press will continue the fine tradition that thousands of reporters and editors have built. You all will get heat from this but it will eventually die down. Good luck on the new school year!

  11. Robert Curtis

    Well said Kevin. As a parent of a current student, I read to better understand what my daughter is experiencing at UMW. I never really understood the name of what is now mostly electronic media as most publications are. This change to me represents that the editors understand what is happening in the real world of communication and major changes are happening. Change or die. The name change seems well reasoned and I’m sure was well thought out. Good luck to you all as you continue to represent the university with such great actions.

  12. Robert Curtis

    In my quest to learn more about my daughter’s school and its history, I found that the name of the entire school has changed many times. The line you used calling the newspaper a “Historic institution” made me laugh especially in that context. Lighten up, its a newspaper. The names of newspapers throughout history have changed almost a frequently as banks do now.

  13. Kathy B

    As a UMW graduate from the last decade, I saw a lot of changes to our school before I even graduated in 2007. I remember how passionately we students had to argue that Mary belonged as part of the university name. Many felt that leaving out Mary would lead people to believe we were just another institution named after a dead president rather than the mother of one. I remember how motivated we were in keeping the name in order to preserve the connection to our local history and I think changing the newspaper name from the Bullet to the Blue & Gray Press upholds that goal.

  14. Beverly Lam

    Class of 1971.
    Totally agree w/ the sentiments expressed by Brendan above.

  15. Beverly Lam