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University of Iowa to Change Name of 'ISIS' Online Portal After Complaints

The University of Iowa has gotten complaints about the name of their web portal, the “Iowa Student Information System” (ISIS), and they're not alone.

The University of Iowa plans to change the name of its online portal — the “Iowa Student Information System” or "ISIS" — in the wake of recent attacks by the terror group that uses the same acronym.

The school has received only a "handful of direct complaints" about the name of its online portal, but students have become more vocal about their disdain on social media, and "we take those concerns seriously," the university said.

The university conceded the change will be costly. "While changing the name is relatively straightforward, the name is embedded in many electronic and paper documents and those changes are extensive," the statement said.

University of Iowa officials aren’t the only ones facing issues because they share a name with the terror group. Here's a look at businesses and buildings that have faced scrutiny for similarly unfortunate coincidences — including some that have refused to change their names.

  • The name of ISIS Downtown, a building development in West Palm Beach, Florida, was altered while it was being built in 2014. Tim Harris, the past president of the Realtor Association of the Palm Beaches, told The Associated Press that the prior name of the condominiums, now called 333 Downtown, had become "scarily negative."
  • When Isis Pharmaceuticals was founded more than 25 years ago, the militant group didn't exist. D. Wade Walke, Isis Pharmaceuticals' vice president for corporate communications and investor relations, told Forbes last month that name change isn't planned for the immediate future, but the company has received complaints by email. The public company is reviewing the issue, but changing a ticker symbol is no simple task, Walke said.
  • Jeff Harrison, the co-owner of Isis Books & Gifts near Denver, Colorado, named the spirituality-themed outpost after the Egyptian goddess of the same name in 1980, according to the AP. Recently, he has learned to put up with acts of vandalism by folks whom he suspects are "some ignorant people believing that somehow the terrorists have a store, a gift store, in the middle of Denver, Colorado." In November, after 130 people were killed in terror attacks in Paris, the store's sign was destroyed, but Harrison remains undeterred. "For now, we are definitely sticking with the name," he told the AP.
  • Isis Lounge & Restaurant in Pasadena, California, has recently taken to Facebook to explain the meaning behind the name of the business. "Isis is an ancient Egyptian goddess of wisdom ... We wanted our name to reflect beauty and fairness and wisdom; which are the core values of our establishment," a post on the cafe's Facebook page said. The name of ISIS Lounge & Restaurant won't be changing, the post said. "We refuse to give in," it read. "We cannot allow the terrorist scums to lay claim on something so genuine and sincere."