In 1927, the following dirty little ditty was published in an anthology of American folk verse:
Poof, "beaver" had a new meaning in the English language. Poof, little Beaver College, founded in 1853 in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, had the seeds of a PR problem.
"The word 'beaver' too often elicits ridicule in the form of derogatory remarks pertaining to ... sexual vulgarities," wrote Beaver College President Bette Landman in a recent letter to Beaver alums, students, and staff.
Still, for 75 years the proud, plucky Beavers ignored the double entendre, just never you mind those ribald jokes from the likes of Howard Stern and Conan O'Brien. Never mind the spate of self-proclaimed "beaver movies" spawned by a 1969 Supreme Court ruling that pubic hair wasn't obscene.
"We have a lot of evidence that people aren't able to get our information in high schools because of Web filters in the libraries" that block out sites with "Beaver" along with other presumed smut words, said Beaver spokesman Bill Avington. "With so many people using the Net as the initial means to look at colleges, that's a serious disadvantage."
Filters will block email from Beaver college staffers to prospective students, too, Avington claimed. Mail that isn't filtered is frequently deleted by people who assume it's porn spam when they see the domain name.
And kids who go searching for "beaver" on the unfiltered Web find it all right, but they don't necessarily find the Beaver College website.
"I got a call from a father who was irate because his daughter, who was trying to find our site, had stumbled on a 'beaver site' with an extremely crude image on it," Avington said. "He was upset with us, and I said, 'I can't control what's on the Internet.'"
All this, plus a survey that found 30 percent of high schoolers wouldn't even consider attending an institution called "Beaver College," prompted Landman to mail out a letter and survey last February to 20,000 Beavers, ex-Beavers, and families of Beavers, asking, "Is it time to change the name?"
The deadline to return surveys is Friday. Beaver College will tally the results, then host a series of "town meetings" to solicit further input. The name change committee will then make its recommendations to Landman, and by the end of May, there may be no more Beaver College.
But sophomoric denizens of the Web need not lament -- there are, apparently, other mockable fish in the sea of higher learning.
"Apparently, there's also a Ball State University!! LOL!!" wrote one thrilled poster in a newsgroup discussion of the Beaver dilemma.
Olivia Sears contributed to this report.
Beaver College changes oft-derided name to Arcadia University
November 20, 2000
Web posted at: 7:01 AM EST (1201 GMT)
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AP) -- Beaver College, aiming to shed a source of ridicule and boost enrollment, unveiled Monday a new school name that's seemingly satire-proof: Arcadia University.
The decision was announced just after midnight at a surprise pajama party for students, who were rounded up from residence halls with less than an hour's notice.
"Arcadia University reflects our foundation and the kind of learning environment we aim to foster," President Bette E. Landman said.
Much has changed about the college since it was founded in 1853 as a small women's college in western Pennsylvania's Beaver County. For starters, the school is no longer in Beaver -- moving across the state to suburban Philadelphia in 1925.
And then, there were all those jokes.
Landman said in a letter earlier this year that the old name "too often elicits ridicule in the form of derogatory remarks pertaining to the rodent, the TV show 'Leave It to Beaver' and the vulgar reference to the female anatomy."
Beaver College has appeared on David Letterman's Top 10 list. Conan O'Brien and Howard Stern have made jokes about it. And when "Saturday Night Live" writers invented an annoying film critic for a recent sketch, they made him a representative of Beaver College campus radio.
The college's own research shows the school appeals to 30 percent fewer prospective students solely because of the name. And the problems worsened with the rise of the Internet, since some Web filters intended to screen out sexually explicit material blocked access to the Beaver College Web site.
The trustees of the 2,800-student school in the Philadelphia suburb of Glenside voted in June to change the college's name and to seek university status, which the state granted earlier this month.
Surveys about the name change were sent to more than 20,000 alumni, students, parents, faculty and staff, and comments came in from others who saw news stories about the search for a name. Six names were sent to focus groups, and Arcadia was the clear winner, college spokesman Bill Avington said.
"It seems to be a perfect name," Avington said, citing Arcadia's origin as a picturesque region of ancient Greece and its associations with a peaceful environment for thought and learning.
So is there any way anyone can make something rude out of the new name?
"We don't believe so. Certainly, that was something we looked for," Avington said. "We tried to go through every scenario. We've looked pretty carefully at it."
The name, along with the university status, become official July 16, 2001.
Beaver's eager quest for new name
A US college is being forced to change its name because computer software designed to screen out sexually explicit material is inadvertently stopping people reaching its website.
Beaver College in Philadelphia is sick of the ridicule - and computer access problems - which its name has afforded it.
Trustees have voted overwhelmingly to go ahead with finding a new name.
Beaver's slang connotations, referring to the female body, are among the causes cited by college president Bette E Landman as forcing the change.
The name "too often elicits ridicule in the form of derogatory remarks pertaining to the rodent, the television show Leave it to Beaver, and the vulgar reference to the female anatomy," said Ms Landman in a letter written earlier this year.
College officials are said to believe that - as well as being the butt of jokes - the dawn of the internet era has placed them at a serious disadvantage.
Potential students using school libraries may find internet access blocked by software, while children using non-screened computers may get an education of a different kind if they launch an internet search.
There is even concern that e-mails sent from the college could fall foul of porn-busting software.
College spokesman Bill Avington said there were also geographical reasons for making the change - as the college has long since moved from its original location in Beaver County, near the Ohio state line, where it was founded in 1853.
"Beaver College doesn't really represent who we are any more," said Mr Avington.
"We're not in Beaver, Pennsylvania, any more and we're no longer what anyone would think of as a college."
Chat show jokes
The vote to form a committee to seek out a more appropriate name was carried by 23-1.
Trustees also decided to apply for a new status as a university.
Beaver College's notoriety has been boosted by chat show hosts David Letterman and Conan O'Brien, and radio talk show host Howard Stern has also made jokes about it.
When the change goes ahead, the 2,800 students who attend the college in the suburb of Glenside, Pennsylvania may find it easier to tell new friends where they study without blushing.
lemme see what else i can find...
Ohh! wrong facts!
The college, which was founded in Beaver County, Philadelphia, made the change after president Bette E. Landman said the old name "too often elicits ridicule in the form of derogatory remarks pertaining to the rodent, the TV show Leave It to Beaver and the vulgar reference to the female anatomy."
Uhhh beaver county is out near the ohio border. there is no beaver county in philly or the surrounding suburbs...
back to russia