FAQ

Are the Task Force recommendations binding / are these four buildings now unnamed?

Are the Task Force recommendations binding / are these four buildings now unnamed?

No. Today’s report is the latest step in an ongoing process to thoughtfully and thoroughly review the University’s history. The President will consider this report as he formulates a recommendation of next steps for the Board of Regents, which he will present at the Board’s March meeting. Under University policy, only the Board has the authority to remove names from campus buildings.

What is the purpose of the Task Force’s report if the recommendations aren’t binding?

What is the purpose of the Task Force’s report if the recommendations aren’t binding?

The President and Provost asked the Task Force to conduct an informed review of the history of the naming of four buildings (Coffey Hall, Coffman Memorial Union, Middlebrook Hall and Nicholson Hall), report on the rationale for and against changing the names, and submit final recommendations. Their comprehensive, extensively researched report and thoughtful analysis has provided the President with the information and context he needs to fully consider his recommendation to the Board of Regents.

What is the next step now that the Task Force report is complete?

What is the next step now that the Task Force report is complete?

The report is posted publicly on the University History website. President Kaler and Executive Vice President and Provost Hanson are reviewing it, and President Kaler will formulate his recommendations for the Board of Regents. He will present his recommendations to the Board at its March meeting.

Who makes the final decision on naming University buildings?

Who makes the final decision on naming University buildings?

Per University policy, the Board of Regents has final approval on any recommendations to name, rename, or revoke the name of a University building.

Will the Task Force consider other buildings / who will handle similar work in the future?

Will the Task Force consider other buildings / who will handle similar work in the future?

With the submission of its report to President Kaler and Provost Hanson, the work of the Task Force on Building Names and Institutional History is complete.

A new, permanent Advisory Committee on University History will consider future renaming and name removal issues systemwide. The permanent body will also be asked to consider the possibilities of future, more diverse namings, and to foster ongoing public discussion and dissemination of knowledge about University history.

Who will be part of the permanent Advisory Committee to the President on University History?

Who will be part of the permanent Advisory Committee to the President on University History?

The President and Provost plan to announce more about the structure of the standing committee this Spring.

How often will the University review building names?

How often will the University review building names?

The permanent Advisory Committee on University History will place emphasis on sharing  knowledge about University history systemwide, and considering the possibilities of future, more diverse namings. If there are future calls to rename a building, the permanent body would receive that request as well.

Is there a remedy other than a full re-naming?

Is there a remedy other than a full re-naming?

Yes. It was recommended by the Coleman Committee that the University examine not only renaming, but other educational options that acknowledge University history, such as exhibits and public displays, high-profile lectures that engage our history, and new courses to contextualize these issues, for example. The Task Force also advocated for this approach in its report.

 

President Kaler and Provost Hanson have been mindful of the importance of pursuing issues beyond the naming of buildings. This work will be carried forward by the permanent President’s and Provost’s Advisory Committee on University History, which will foster ongoing reflective practices concerning memory, history, and the contemporary implications of the University’s past.

Why is this work worth all the time (and potential costs) that is being invested?

Why is this work worth all the time (and potential costs) that is being invested?

As of February 2019, no hard costs have been incurred outside hiring one graduate student to assist the Task Force. The faculty, staff, and student members committed to the efforts of the Coleman Committee and the Task Force were not provided additional compensation for their work.

Namings of buildings and exterior public spaces are visible and enduring, and provide an important intergenerational connection between campus and community members. It’s essential that the University evaluate whether honorary namings, some of which were bestowed long ago, reflect the University’s core values and culture. The names of buildings on our campuses have multilayered meanings, present and historical. As a land-grant institution, we should continue to engage and explore our history.

Won’t changing names further conceal negative aspects of University history?

Won’t changing names further conceal negative aspects of University history?

On the contrary, changing names may attract even more attention to full consideration of University history, especially when efforts are made to preserve and share that history. Whether a building is renamed or not, we anticipate physical and digital displays and exhibits that detail the legacies - both good and bad - of the names attached to these buildings. Other options that have been discussed include lectures that engage University history, and/or new courses to contextualize these issues.