The people of Buffalo are proud and quick to anger. Having been the butt of jokes for some 40 years has given them both a thick skin, and a quick temper. The think skin can be seen in the self deprecating humor that most Buffalonians have, the quick temper can be seen when someone other than a Buffalonian tries to insult the city.
This is relevant because when it came to light that UB Athletics might be looking to work "New York" into the departments brand there was some strong negative reaction from proud Buffalo residents at the perception that such a move is an attempt to dissociate UB from Buffalo.
Nothing can be further from the truth.
UB has been a part of the Buffalo landscape for more than 150 years, and the Athletics department has been going strong for well over a century. No name change will stop UB from being a part of the Buffalo.
The school has been called the "University of Buffalo, the U of B, Buffalo, UB, and then thanks to some awful state naming committee "The State University of New York at Buffalo". The current official name is often presented as SUNY at Buffalo or the University at Buffalo.
Today there is a second SUNY College in the city named Buffalo State, this even further confuses matters.
Buff State is a local college. It's a fine "normal" school with some good undergrad education programs and a few gems in the graduate department. But its a highly regional and an focused college. The University at Buffalo is a flagship state University that draws students from all over New York, and all over the world.
Consider for a moment that of UB's nearly twenty thousand undergraduate students more than 10% are not even from the United States, and 5% are Americans from other states. 29% of UB undergrads are from Western New York, 7% are from the capitol district, 16% percent are from Central New York, and 33% are from the New York City area.
That's right there are more down staters, than there are Western New York kids at UB. Like it or not UB is New York State's University, its a school we share will all of NY. So maybe the athletics department, one key pillar of University advertising, should reflect that.
In the end this is not about "who's school is it". UB is Buffalo, founded by Millard Filmore it has become as much a part of Buffalo's identity as the blue collar mentality that still thrives in the city. It's an awesome part of our history and community that we happily share with the rest of New York. The name of the teams and the name of the team can reflect that without slighting Buffalo.
Such a change is not going to make people forget that UB is located in Buffalo. Everyone knows Michigan is in Ann Arbor, Minnesota is in the Twin Cities, and Tennessee is in Knoxville. Those universities and their state centered names do no diminish those communities, they just let the rest of the nation know that kids from around the state, country, and nation come to Buffalo to get an education at New York State University.