Naming Committee set to send Glassman letter with findings


Naming Committee ex-officio convenor Ken Wetstein and committee members Angie Campbell and Diane Burns review the rough draft of a letter that will be sent to University President David Glassman during a meeting Jan. 13. The letter will include the committee’s findings on each name the committee was asked to review.

Corryn Brock, Editor-in-Chief

Eastern’s Naming Committee met for what may have been the final meeting on renaming Douglas Hall before the Board of Trustees will discuss, but not vote, on a name change during the BOT meeting Jan. 21.

The meeting consisted of editing a rough draft of a letter to University President David Glassman

Few changes were made to the letter, with most changes focused on clarifying the committee’s findings and fixing grammatical errors.

During the meeting, ex-offico convenor of the Naming Committee, Ken Wetstein said he believes Glassman will use the committee’s findings to create his own presentation for the board.

“It’s my impression that he’s just going to use this to synthesize his own presentation to the board. I don’t think he’s going to take our raw recommendations or analysis forward,” Wetstein said.

The committee’s findings were on the following individuals: former Illinois Governor Edward Coles, former student athlete and Tuskegee Airman Major Charles B. Hall, community members who assisted students with housing Ona and Kenneth Norton, Eastern’s first Black student Zella Powell and former life sciences professor and Director of Afro-American Studies William Ridgeway.

Beyond assessing those individuals for their fitness for naming honors, the committee also gave their findings on renaming Douglas Hall Hall-Norton Hall (after both Hall and Ona Norton) and Lincoln-Douglas Debate Hall.

It was also decided that the committee should not address the idea of Lincoln-Douglas Debate Memorial Towers, with one hall named Liberty Hall and the other named Justice Hall, because it was not within the committee’s directive to consider a name change that would rename both Douglas Hall and Lincoln Hall.

Before the committee came to that agreement, three points were offered under the findings for that naming option:

  • “This name may address concerns that changing the name of Douglas Hall is ‘erasing history’”
  • “The proposed name suggests re-naming not one but TWO residence halls, including Lincoln Hall”
  • “The long name is cumbersome; the short names (‘Liberty’ and ‘Justice’) are efficient but somewhat esoteric and very different from other building names employed on campus and are the names least aligned with the guidelines in the IGP on Naming.”

The next meeting will be set at a later date as the committee waits to see if the president requests any more work from the committee.


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