Students petition to save Ronald Reagan's name on UCLA campus medical center
A student at the University of California Los Angeles wrote that former President Ronald Reagan’s name should be removed from the school’s medical center.
Conservative students responded to the opinion piece by organizing a petition to preserve the president's name on the building.
A student at the University of California-Los Angeles argued that the school should remove former President Ronald Reagan’s name from its medical center.
Sophia Kloster, an opinion writer for campus newspaper The Daily Bruin, said that the hospital ought to be renamed to reflect its own values — namely, “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Citing the AIDS epidemic and racist comments, Kloster wrote:
“It is hypocritical for the center to preach equity for people of all sexual orientations, races and ethnicities while simultaneously carrying the name of a president whose actions undermined those values and led to the deaths of thousands.”
“The name ‘Ronald Reagan’ does a disservice to the hundreds of medical professionals who provide quality care to patients day in and day out,” she continued. “The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is dedicated to promoting health equity — unlike the person it was named for.”
Conservative students in UCLA’s Turning Point USA chapter made a counter-petition.
“Fitting with the recent wave of renaming schools in the name of social justice, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (RRMC) has been put forth as another ‘problematic’ name,” they write. “The only reason the name is being called into question is because President Reagan was a conservative Republican.”
UCLA TPUSA President Sarah Sleboda told Campus Reform that the group plans to start "promoting it on our social media platforms as well as connecting it to a QR code when we table on campus this week."
"We formed this petition because we find it ridiculous that people are so offended by a name that they go through the effort of renaming buildings," she added. "Ronald Reagan had monumental impacts on both California and the United States. We do not want his name erased from history."
The UCLA College Republicans told Campus Reform in a statement that Reagan deserves to have his name on the hospital.
But many other students in California — where Reagan lived much of his life and eventually served as governor — have a particularly strong disdain for landmarks and monuments named after the conservative president.
In 2015, busts of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Ayn Rand at Chapman University were covered with caution tape and defaced with accusations of “racism,” “homophobia,” and “neo-liberalist ideology.” The vandals also accused theologian and medical missionary Albert Schweitzer of “Racism and White Savior Complex.”
More recently, the students circulated a petition for the busts to be taken down, arguing that the move would "create a safer and more inclusive environment for Chapman's marginalized students and community."
The Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California — owned by conservative student group Young America’s Foundation — was vandalized with the phrase "Repubs = Traitors" written in spray paint.
Campus Reform reached out to Kloster and UCLA for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.