Editorial: More DiBiancos, less Douglases

Staff Editorial

EIU Pride gave us an example of how powerful students can be when they share their voice on what matters most to them.

Tuesday, the group ended a weeks-long back and forth with Eastern’s administration regarding the name of the space that will house an LGBTQ community next fall. The living learning community will be beneficial for the students living in it, but now also holds the name of someone important to the LGBTQ community specifically at Eastern.

Doug DiBianco received the honor of having his name attached to the LGBTQ community because of his dedication to the community at Eastern throughout his career and for starting the first group for LGBTQ students at Eastern.

Though with research you will find that DiBianco was a controversial figure at Eastern for his “art appreciation” as described by a student in a Letter to the Editor to The Daily Eastern News following his death in 2011. However, when you take the good with the bad and consider what he did for a group of students who often face discrimination, he is deserving of recognition and a naming honor.

His name will follow in the footsteps of other individuals whose contributions to this university and the world helped create change for the better.

It will now forever be attached to Eastern, much like the name of Stephen Douglas. 

As most people now know, Douglas was a racist who advocated for slavery and thought of Black people as subhuman. He also has a residence hall at Eastern that bears his name.

This week forums will continue to allow members of the Eastern community and surrounding communities to debate and discuss whether or not the name of Douglas Hall should be changed.

When attending these forums, which we at The Daily Eastern News highly recommend, consider what makes someone deserving of having their name honored at this institution.

What makes someone deserving of that high honor at a university that is “committed to diversity and inclusion,” like Eastern’s mission statement claims?

Is it someone who would not be able to see the value of the people of color at Eastern? Or perhaps is it someone who fights for others and their rights.

You have the chance to say who does and does not deserve naming recognition at Eastern this week. Let them know.