UO Board of Trustees votes unanimously to dename Dunn Hall
The University of Oregon Board of Trustees voted unanimously to dename the controversial Dunn Hall during its quarterly public meeting on Sept. 8. It will be called Cedar Hall until a new name is chosen.
UO President Michael Schill said he would recommend a process for determining a new name at the next meeting.
“What we should do is name Dunn Hall … for someone who does further our ideals of inclusion, does further our ideals of commitment to diversity and that we go about that process of determining that name through an inclusionary process on campus that with hopefully be both healing and educational,” Schill said.
The denaming was the first item on the board’s agenda. Three public comments were made at the meeting, including those from ASUO president Quinn Haaga and Vice President Natalie Fisher.
“I love the University of Oregon, I have always since I was a little girl,” Fisher said. She urged the board to rename Dunn Hall, as “it’s the least the university could do to make students, especially marginalized students, feel safe on campus.”
Haaga also urged the board to take action immediately, as well as launch an investigation into all buildings’ names on campus.
Schill credited the Black Student Task Force for bringing the problem to the administration’s attention. He said “racism has no place on campus.”
With over 1,000 comments from the community in the initial forum, Schill said it’s clear that the campus wants a change. He said denaming buildings has a strong symbolic impact, but “symbols are less important than action.”
Board member Andrew Colas supported the movement.
“I wholeheartedly support the renaming of Dunn. And if we get to Deady, I’ll support that too,” Colas said.
During Schill’s presentation of the President’s Report, he spoke extensively on the university’s progress addressing the 13 demands made by the Black Student Task Force in fall 2015.
Administration has made progress on most of the demands, but there are five left to focus on, Schill said. Among these are the construction of a Black Cultural Center, hiring an African-American student retention specialist and altering graduation requirements to include Ethnic Studies 101.
Schill said making Ethnic Studies 101 mandatory for 21,000 students is impossible, but the university will work to shorten the list of courses that satisfy the two multicultural course requirements. Schill said administrators are making progress on the other demands.
Schill ended his president report with comments on UO’s budget and fundraising goals.
“This is a year of great budget uncertainty, especially considering state budget cuts,” he said.
The state is in a deficit of $1.2 billion. If the state passes measure 97– a bill that increases corporate minimum tax when sales exceed $25 million– in November, it would also alter UO’s budget, but in the opposite way.
Schill said UO is on-track for its ambitious fundraising plans, having raised over $23 million so far this quarter.
In addition to the denaming, the board voted to extend funds for two multi-million dollar renovations for Pacific Hall and Oregon Hall. Both projects are in early design phases.
Vice President and Provost Scott Coltrane also spoke at the meeting, introducing seven new administrators to the board. The introductions included Vice President for Research and Innovation David O. Conover, Dean of Students Kris Winters, Dean of School of Journalism and Communications Juan-Carlos Molleda and Dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts Christoph Lindner.
The board will continue the meeting tomorrow, starting at 9:00 a.m., to discuss the process for setting tuition and fees.
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