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Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
Beaver's eager quest for new name
 Eugenia Fuller Atwood Library
Beaver College's Atwood Library. pictured on its ambiguously-named website
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.

Grey Towers Castle
Grey Towers Castle, at the centre of Beaver's campus, shown on the college's website

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.

Beaver County

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.

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11 Oct 99 | Education
Net porn warning for pupils
07 May 99 | Education
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11 Jan 99 | Education
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