Board of trustees votes to rename the library

Lee Hughes, Assistant News Editor

Sawyer Loftus

The decision making body of the University, the board of trustees, unanimously voted to approve the renaming of Bailey/Howe Library during their biannual meeting Oct. 26, making the name change official and meeting social justice group NoNames for Justice’s demand to remove Guy Bailey’s name.
The Board approved the new name to be the David Howe Library.

During their protests last spring, NoNames gave demands to the university, including the demand to rename the library in light of Bailey’s ties to the eugenics movement in Vermont.

Nonames representative Starrkeisha “Starr” Cobb, a senior, said they are very happy that the library was renamed.

“We’ve done so much, and this is going to be the one we are going to be remembered for,” Cobb said. “It’s like finally our work is being seen by others, so it feels good for all of us.”

Although they were frustrated at having to go through the Board to rename the library, Cobb said NoNames is prepared to do what is necessary to achieve their goals.

“We have to support that process,” they said. “Any way it can get accomplished, any way that anything we want to get accomplished we’re ready to go through it.”

Ron Lumbra, chair of the renaming committee and co-chair of the Board of Trustees, said that plans are underway to change all of associated signs.

“One of the things that we worked hard to do was to be very deliberate, very thoughtful, to do nothing in haste and to really look at this situation from all angles and perspectives,” Lumbra said.

The committee found that Bailey was involved with the eugenics movement in Vermont as well as having left the University nearly bankrupt, Lumbra told the Board.

It then voted to support the renaming off the library, he told the Board.

“We deliberated very carefully, and we thought very carefully about his role on the library,” he said.

Sydney Hilker, a second year medical student on the Board, participated in the renaming committee. She said her experience on the committee made her very proud to be a part of the UVM community.

“I think we came to what we felt was the right decision, but it wasn’t an easy one,” Hilker said. “It was a long process.”

SGA President junior Ethan Foley said that he is proud of the work that everyone put into getting this change and he is happy that the Board took its time to deliberate on this issue.

Oct. 23 SGA approved legislation supporting the renaming of the library.

“It’s a really cool time to be at UVM,” Foley said.

Eugenics at UVM was spearheaded by Professor Henry F. Perkins in the early 20th century, with support from then President Guy Bailey, according to the UVM page on eugenics. At UVM eugenics took the form of a survey.

The survey was intended to further eugenic research, public education on the findings and support legislation to reduce Vermont’s ‘social problem group,’ according to UVM’s webpage.

The most notorious of the policies was the 1931 eugenic sterilization law, according to the webpage.

With the library’s name change, NoNames is still working on its other demands, such as increased funding for diversity groups on campus, Cobb said.

“We are still in this fight,” they said. “When we need to protest we will.”