Naming Committee forums to continue

Corryn Brock, News Editor

Eastern’s Naming Committee will host its final three forums on the potential remaining of Douglas Hall.

The upcoming forums will focus on specific student groups within the student body that the Naming Committee identified as groups whose input would be important for the committee to hear.

The forums will include:

• Eastern students affiliated with the Black Student Union, the Latin American Student Organization, Alpha Psi Lambda, the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Eastern’s chapter of the NAACP (March 29, 4 p.m.; contact Mona Davenport at [email protected] for log-in information)

• Eastern students affiliated with Eastern’s Student Government, the Interfraternity Council and PanHellenic Council (March 30, 4 p.m.; contact Davenport at [email protected] for log-in information)

• Eastern Students affiliated with Eastern’s Residence Hall Association (April 1, 5 p.m.; contact Ken Wetstein [email protected] for the meeting log-in information)

The committee has hosted forums for staff, faculty, the entire student body and an open community forum.

Currently, the Naming Committee is seeking to collect information to make a recommendation to University President David Glassman on if the university should rename or retain the name of Douglas Hall.

Douglas Hall is named after Stephen Douglas, former U.S. Senator who on multiple occasions opposed Abraham Lincoln in elections and ideals.

Douglas Hall was named at the same time as Lincoln Hall, which was meant to honor a debate that took place in 1858 in Charleston between the two men.

Glassman said there is no doubt Douglas  was a racist, as well as no doubt the university meant to honor his ideologies.

“There is no doubt that Stephen Douglas was a racist and an ardent supporter of slavery and there is no doubt the naming of Douglas Hall on EIU’s was never meant to commemorate his racist ideology,” Glassman said. “The naming on our campus was solely to commemorate a major historical debate that dealt with the national divisive issue of slavery in the 1850s and its impact on the eventual passing of the 13th amendment of the Constitution under the presidency of Abraham Lincoln in 1865.”

A potential name change has debated for over a decade.

In an email to the campus community, Glassman explained how the issue has been handled in the past.

“When this issue was reviewed in the past, it was the recommendation of the Naming Committee to retain the name of Douglas Hall as commemoration of the Lincoln-Douglas debate, however the committee further recommended that the university serve to educate the public and its students about the context of the debate and the deplorable racist ideology and rhetoric of Douglas;” Glassman said. “To that end, the university constructed a historical presentation outlining the Lincoln-Douglas debate located in Stevenson Hall between the Lincoln and Douglas residence halls.”

The previously hosted forums have shown a trend of individuals wanting the residence hall to be renamed.

For those who were or will be unable to attend one of the forums, a survey is available at go.eiu.edu/EIUDouglasHallSurvey.

The survey give background information on the original naming, how the Naming Committee has acted on the issue previously and the different sides of the argument.

Participants are encouraged to share whether they believe the Naming Committee should recommend to rename Douglas Hall or retain the name.

 

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]