LSU launches committee to determine if building names are racist

LSU announced a 16-member committee dedicated to evaluating building names on campus.

In June, LSU removed the name of their former university President Troy Middleton (1951-62) from its library.

LSU also outlined future inclusion goals such as “make recommendations regarding creation of an LGBTQ+ Center on campus.”

Louisiana State University announced Tuesday that it has established a committee dedicated to reviewing and studying building names on campus. The 16-member committee- composed of LSU students, faculty, staff, and alumni- will determine if the building names are “symbols of or monuments to racism.”

In June, LSU made headlines for stripping the name of former university President Troy Middleton (1951-62) from its library. 

During his tenure, Middleton opposed desegregating the campus.

[RELATED: LSU prof pledges to ‘drop’ students who engage in ‘hate speech’]

However, not everyone agreed with the removal of Middleton’s name. Former state lawmaker Woody Jenkins, on behalf of the Middleton family, cited Middleton’s military service in World War I and World War II. Jenkins also noted Middleton’s change of heart in the 1960s, as part of a biracial commission to integrate Louisiana and enforce the Civil Rights Act.

“LSU is committed to eliminating building and place names that are a reminder of a racist and segregated past and that inhibit our students’ learning and full inclusion on campus,” Interim President Tom Galligan said in the email announcing the new committee.

According to Galligan, recommendations to remove building names will go through multiple approvals but will be first evaluated by the new committee. The final say comes down to the University Board of Supervisors.

[RELATED: University at Buffalo scraps US President Millard Fillmore’s name from building]

In an overall push to create a more inclusive campus community, LSU held an “Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity Leadership Retreat” on July 1, where nine committees were created to enact the policies in the “Diversity & Inclusion Roadmap 2020-2022.

The school did not specify the specific committees created, although it did outline goals such as “make recommendations regarding creation of an LGBTQ+ Center on campus” and “create at least one full-time professional staff position to meet needs of LGBTQ+ communities.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JezzamineWolk