University of Oregon president Michael Schill released an open letter today addressing the Black Student Task Force list of demands. The demands include, among other concerns, the renaming of Deady and Dunn Halls because of links to racism.
“Many of the demands are quite reasonable—consistent with our institutional priorities and the IDEAL diversity framework—and, if implemented, would make our university a better place,” he states in the open letter.
Schill wrote that he will recommend to the Board of Trustees immediately renaming Dunn Hall. He postponed his decision to rename Deady Hall.
If the Board of Trustees accept the recommendation, Schill aims to install a plaque in Dunn Hall that “indicates that it used to be Dunn Hall and explains why it was denamed.”
Schill and the trustees will then begin the process of finding a new name for the building, seeking an individual “whose life exemplifies the characteristics of racial diversity and inclusion that Dunn despised.”
He received 969 comments, according to the letter. “Of these submissions, 434 were from students, 186 were from alumni, 143 were from faculty members, 158 were from officers of administration and members of classified staff, and 48 were from other individuals.”
Reopened until 5 p.m. October 14, the extended comment period will allow further input for the Deady Hall decision. Schill is planning a “campus conversation” to take place in October, as well as an exhibition in Deady Hall that “will educate all who enter on the mixed legacy of its namesake,” the letter stated.
“I … believe that we would miss an important educational opportunity by deciding the matter prior to the return to campus of our students and faculty later this month,” wrote Schill.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the renaming of both halls had been delayed. Only Deady’s renaming was delayed. This error has since been corrected.