Scholars Walk dispute resolved

Jason Juno

Pop quiz: Should it be “Scholars Walk” or “Scholars’ Walk”?

Some might not agree, but the East Bank walk will be Scholars Walk. No apostrophe.

The walk that leads students east and west through the East Bank campus has a stable name after the University Gateway Corp. voted 4-1 on Monday to keep the apostrophe off.

Margaret Carlson, chief executive officer of the University Alumni Association, said she voted to keep the apostrophe off because it is not just for the people whose name appears on the walk.

“And what I hope is that people will walk the walk, be inspired and see themselves as a scholar whether they are a prospective student or a noble winner that’s come back to campus,” she said.

Every graduate leaves the University and changes lives, making them all scholars, she said.

But first-year student Jessica Vorpahl said she believes the apostrophe should be there because it is the scholars’ walkway.

English professor Maria Damon said taking the apostrophe out turns the phrase into a complete sentence. It essentially says: Scholars walk. Walk is the verb.

“It’s inviting anyone who walks on it to be a scholar,” she said. “It also implies that part of what scholars do is walk. It’s suggesting that walking is actually a way of processing ideas, which it is.”

Taking away the apostrophe takes away the possessiveness, she said.

“Either way would have been fine,” she said. “But if it was a conscious decision to leave out the apostrophe, it’s perfectly appropriate.”

Carlson said the apostrophe debate has brought a lot of publicity to what she feels is a great project.

The walk will be dedicated during homecoming, Carlson said. As of now, the walk runs from McNamara Alumni Center to Union Street Southeast. It will eventually go to Appleby Hall, she said.

“It is a major green space for campus,” Carlson said.