Editorial: Naming Committee must evolve with changing attitudes

Staff Editorial

Over the past two Eastern’s Naming Committee hosted four of the seven forums they have planned to get feedback on whether or not the university should rename or retain the name of Douglas Hall.

The forums have given the committee a lot to work with as they deliberate and come to a conclusion for what the committee should recommend to University President David Glassman and the Board of Trustees.

Throughout the forums, however, one thing has become clear: Eastern does not feel the same way it has in the past on the possibility of renaming Douglas Hall. In the past the overwhelming majority of the Eastern community fought back against the idea of renaming the hall and dug their heels into the idea of having a residence hall on Eastern’s campus named after one of the men involved in a historical debate in Charleston.

Now, people are seeing the hall differently. They’re seeing Stephen Douglas for the man he was, not the piece he was in Abraham Lincoln’s legacy. We at The Daily Eastern News could not be happier to see this. 

Douglas was a horrible man with horrible ideas. He couldn’t have even imagined the place that Charleston would become following the debate in 1858. 

He would have hated seeing our Black students and other students of color thrive at our institution, students of all races attending classes together and the harmony that can be seen among students at Eastern. There’s so much of Eastern today that Douglas would have hated.

For that reason, among so many others, we must follow the trend around the nation and of the campus community now and change the name of Douglas Hall. If the naming committee does not recommend to change the building’s name, they are no better than and holds no moral high ground over Douglas for their unwillingness to see what that building currently represents.