Should a professorship be named after a Hitler backer?

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tags: Hitler, Brown University



Thumbnail Image - Adolf Hitler and the campus of Brown University. Credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild and Wikimedia Commons.

The campus of Princeton University has been engulfed in protests by students who want President Woodrow Wilson’s name removed from one of the university’s schools because of Wilson's racist views. By contrast, the news media and academic community have largely ignored a challenge by several historians to Brown University over its naming of a professorship after an extreme German nationalist who voted for Adolf Hitler. 

Professors John Harvey of Minnesota-based St. Cloud State University and Georg Iggers of State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo recently raised the issue recently in the pages of Perspectives on History, the magazine of the American Historical Association. 

In 2009, Brown University inaugurated a chair known as the Hans Rothfels Assistant Professor of History, funded by a $1-million gift from an unnamed source. “This public honor raises questions about the nature of endowed chairs, the voice of faculties in their acceptance, and the legacy of Hans Rothfels within the American historical community,” Harvey and Iggers wrote.




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