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When the Names on Campus Buildings Evoke a Racist Past

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tags: academia, Confederacy, universties



College campuses have long been centers of social foment and student activism. In the 1960s, they were magnets for protests over the Vietnam War, and more recently, the Black Lives Matter movement forced schools to confront issues of racial justice and inclusion.

The debate continues at many universities over whether the names of prominent racists and others who espoused contentious theories should be allowed to remain on campus buildings and structures. In response, institutions have begun to set up task forces to examine their histories and set standards for the future.

Each university takes a different approach. The name of an Oscar-nominated actress was recently removed from a theater because of her role in a movie that romanticized the Ku Klux Klan. Elsewhere, faculty members confronted university regents over charged accusations of academic dishonesty. Here is how four universities handled a push to rename campus buildings.

Last month, the University of Minnesota board of regents held a special meeting to discuss whether to remove the names of four former university administrators at the school’s Twin Cities campus. A faculty-led task force had recommended they do so, saying the men had promoted racist policies.

The most prominent of the administrators was Lotus D. Coffman, the school’s president from 1920 to 1938. The task force said he excluded black students from university housing, medical training programs and athletics.

Read entire article at NY Times

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