Committee votes to remove name from library


Alek Fleury

A busy Howe Library bustles with students around this time last year.

Sawyer Loftus, Assistant Breaking News Editor

A UVM committee has unanimously voted in favor of removing former University President Guy Bailey’s name from the Bailey/Howe Library.

The renaming committee released a report Oct. 16 detailing their recommendation to remove Bailey’s name. In March 2018, the board of trustees created the Renaming Advisory Committee, charged with looking into Bailey’s role in the UVM eugenics movement, according to an Aug. 13 email to the UVM community.

Concerns were first raised by UVM social justice group NoNames for Justice in March 2018 after learning that Bailey was more deeply involved with the eugenics movement, according to a March 22 statement from the group.

Professor Jackie Weinstock submitted a proposal to remove Bailey’s name after finding evidence that Bailey was much more involved in helping to fund the eugenics movement at the University, she said.

“What I ended up finding was that Guy Bailey actually wrote the official application to get the expanded [eugenics] survey,” she said in a May 2018 interview.

Weinstock said she looked to student group NoNames for Justice as inspiration for her role in the renaming process.

“I would give credit to the NoNames for Justice … for serving as the main impetus to get me even aware of the issue and researching it,” she said in the interview.

“It was just a way for faculty to participate in this moment of change that the students had really created an opportunity for.”

Weinstock said that she is pleased with the committee’s decision to approve her proposal and that it’s a victory for NoNames for Justice.

Senior Z McCarron was part of the group that initially demanded the renaming of library and Perkins Hall September 2017, they said.

“It’s the first time that this university is officially acknowledged this was wrong … This institution is recognizing the oppression and pain that it has caused,” McCarron said. “I was sitting in class reading the Seven Days article and I just started crying.”

The eugenics movement gained popularity in the 1920’s and was “the quest for human betterment through selective breeding,” according to the UVM web page on eugenics history.

The movement, which Bailey contributed to, led to the systemic sterilization of over 60,000 Americans identified as mentally disabled or belonging to marginalized groups, according to Associate Professor Lutz Kaelber’s website about the movement.

SGA President Ethan Foley, a junior, said that the decision to remove the name reflects the power of student voice.

“This demonstrates the strength of the student voice on campus. people frequently forget how strong students are here, students don’t have as big of a say elsewhere,” Foley said.

The full board of trustees is expected to vote on the committee’s recommendation during their yearly meeting Oct. 25 to Oct. 26.