Schill decides not to dename Deady Hall, announces Black cultural center

University of Oregon President Michael Schill announced this morning that he will not dename Deady Hall despite demands made by the Black Student Task Force in fall 2015. He also wrote that a renaming process for Cedar Hall, previously Dunn Hall, will move forward and that the university will begin work on a Black cultural center.

Following the BSTF demands, Schill appointed a committee that assisted in establishing criteria for what would justify the denaming of a building. Schill appointed three historians to “research the historical record of Dunn Hall and Deady Hall’s namesakes” and released their report on Aug. 9, 2016.

“In my view, the facts set forth in the historian’s report do not support overturning the presumption of renaming Deady Hall,” Schill said.

Schill wrote in the announcement that Deady was “a deeply flawed man. He held racist views which I find abhorrent and contrary to the principles of our university. His support of slavery prior to the Civil War cannot be excused.” However, unlike Dunn Hall’s namesake, “he was not the head of an organization which espoused violence against vulnerable populations.”

Schill acknowledged that many students will still see Deady Hall as “a symbol of racial intolerance…” However, ” While the process of naming or denaming a building has symbolic value, symbols are less important than actions that affect the material circumstances of members of our community.” 

In the same release, Schill said that the university will fulfill one of the BSTF demands by building a new Black cultural center at the university. He said he plans to work with students to design the space. A $250,000 donation was made to the project by Dave and Nancy Petrone and fundraising efforts will continue.

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Desiree Bergstrom

Desiree Bergstrom