Q. Dear CMOS: Several of my coworkers have balked at a copyedit I have made repeatedly, and I want to get to the bottom of it, whether I’m proven right or wrong. The University of Texas specifies on its website that “the” is part of its name and that it should therefore be capitalized in every reference to the university. However, I have done extensive research on the matter and have found that most respected copyeditors do not capitalize “the” when it also functions as an article in a sentence, as in “We evaluated the University of Texas’s enrollment data.” I have met with staunch resistance to lowercasing this “the,” especially from coworkers who happened to attend the university in question. Will you please resolve this for me?
A. Chicago style is to lowercase “the” in this context, although we understand that school spirit and corporate pride often overrule Chicago when it comes to in-house publications. Even some University of Chicago publications uppercase “the University” against the recommendation of CMOS. So if UT boosters want the extra oomph from capping the T, you might have to bow to their wishes. It would be good for everyone to follow the same style, whichever one you choose.