Naming Committee holds final forum Thursday

Corryn Brock, News Editor

The Naming Committee hosted its final forum on the potential renaming of Douglas Hall with members of the Residence Hall Association.

The forum was the seventh forum of its kind and followed a trend of support for changing the name of Douglas Hall.

Other forums offered covered the student body as a whole, Eastern faculty, Eastern staff, students affiliated with the Black Student Union, Latin American Student Organization and Alpha Psi Lambda and students affiliated with the Student Government, Interfraternity Council and PanHellenic Council.

Three students spoke during the forum, all in favor of a name change or speaking on behalf of individuals from the areas they represent in favor of the name change.

Ben Drake, national communications coordinator for the Residence Hall Association and history education major, said he understood the significance of the debates but felt they should be recognized in a way other than residence halls.

“In my history classes we talk a lot about commemoration versus memorialization and (Douglas Hall) is obviously an example of commemoration, Lincoln and Douglas are to commemorate the debates and I don’t feel that the debates are something that should be commemorated,” Drake said.

He added he feels that people do not associate Lincoln Hall and Douglas Hall with the debates but the men they are named after.

“I feel like they should be memorialized in a museum, as they were, especially because the hall has become less synonymous with the debates and more synonymous with the man it is named after,” Drake said.

Drake said the debates need to stay in a museum.

“In my opinion, public memory changes all the time, we know that. There’s no one alive today that has a personal connection to the debates so it’s very far from public memory so I feel like it’s something that should be memorialized and kept in a museum as it was an event in which two racist white men argued over their racist beliefs while a racist crowd cheered them on,” Drake said.

Makayla Leverich, president of the Lincoln Hall, Stevenson Hall and Douglas Hall complex said she had heard support for changing the name of Douglas Hall from residents, calling a name change a “big and popular idea.”

One member of the Residence Hall Association representing Greek Court said after talking with members of her sorority, the women all agreed the name needed to be changed because of Douglas’ beliefs.

Following this forum, the Naming Committee will be looking at the information they have collected via forums and a survey they created and come to a decision on what to recommend to University President David Glassman and the Board of Trustees. 

The members of the Board of Trustees will make the final decision on whether to retain or rename Douglas Hall.

 

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