We can rename buildings

Staff Editorial

Two weeks ago, the board of trustees created a committee to discuss renaming buildings on campus. For over a year, students have called for the renaming of Perkins Hall and Bailey/Howe library.

The committee will use a list of criteria developed by Yale University to decide whether or not to rename the buildings.

If it chooses to keep Guy W.  Bailey’s name on the library, the committee chooses to continue honoring a white supremacist and eugenicist.

While we await the decision, we offer an alternative solution. Let’s rename the buildings ourselves.

It’s been done before.

When’s the last time someone has called the Harris-Millis Dining Hall by its official name? It’s the Grundle.

Christie-Wright-Patterson is CWP; the Living/Learning Center is L and L; Wing/Davis/Wilks is WDW.

For a day, NoNames for Justice activists protested in the Waterman building and renamed it Oakland after the California city where the Black Panther party was formed.

Why not call it the Howe library?

Student and community activists can form their own renaming committee and appoint — or even elect — a group of representatives who share the progressive values of activists in a renaming decision.

Perhaps rename the library after Andrew Harris ’38, the first African-American graduate of UVM. We recommend that students use a different process and criteria that are more progressive than the Yale Criteria.

The Yale criteria include that the case against renaming “is at its strongest when a building has been named for someone who made major contributions to the university.”

We disagree. The case for renaming is strongest when it suggests we endorse a legacy founded in oppression.

While we wait for a committee decision, students can begin to push the name out of our own common campus speech and create a University that matches our true values.

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