UO Decision Not To Drop Deady Name “Stings”
Members of the University of Oregon’s Black Student Union say the decision not to remove the name of a slavery supporter from a campus building “stings”. But they’re pleased by plans to create a Black Cultural Center.
UO President Michael Schill announced Wednesday he will not de-name Deady Hall. It’s named for Matthew Deady, who was one of the founders of the University in the 1800s. He also supported slavery and racist language in Oregon’s constitution. But UO spokesman Tobin Klinger says Deady was a complicated figure.
Klinger: “Deady, while he certainly had a racist history and past, there was a certain element of transformation that historians pointed to, that ultimately, he had changed a lot of his views..”
President Schill last year commissioned 3 historians to look into Deady’s history after black students called for removal of names of two men from campus buildings. Schill did de-name Dunn Hall, after learning of Dunn’s KKK leadership in the 1920s.
In a message on social media, members of the Black Student Union expressed disappointment at the decision regarding Deady Hall. The UO also announced Wednesday it’s moving forward with a Black Cultural Center.
Statement from Black Student Union:
Black Student Task Force: MESSAGE TO BLACK STUDENTS: Deady Hall and update on Black students' demands
Dear UO Black Students:
By now, you have had an opportunity to read President Schill’s decision about Deady Hall. We are very disappointed that the University of Oregon has chosen not to dename Deady Hall.
While this disappointment stings, we must continue to push forward. We are delighted about the gains that have been made in achieving other Demands and we are especially encouraged by the fact that the UO has committed to building a Black Cultural Center. It is also encouraging that the UO cluster hiring process is in full swing with the recruitment of Black faculty in English, Women and Gender Studies and History. Most importantly, we are buoyed by the Dean Marcus’ commitment to create the foundational roots for a Black Studies Program/Department, beginning with the establishment of a minor in Black Studies. Despite our disappointment with the Deady decision, we must acknowledge President Schill and the UO Administration’s continued dedication to the process of inclusion. We will continue to work with them to improve the campus experience for current and future generations of Black students.
That said, we recognize the success of our Demands ultimately falls on OUR shoulders. There are still Demands that need to be met and we have much more work to do.
Since November 2015, we have dedicated countless hours to committee meetings and crafting recommendation drafts for the UO to better serve Black students. Moving forward, we ask the BSU, BWA, BMA, BLSA, ASA, UMOJA SCHOLARS and all black students to stand in solidarity and continue to support us. We ask that you kindly refrain from protests at this time and use the time to focus more on achieving your best academically. We ask that you engage with us so that you can provide input/work with us. We have unmet Demands that we must fulfill. We also have to monitor the Demands that have been met to ensure unlimited access and success for Black students. We value all of your words and are committed to working with you. We will gladly welcome your input through direct communication and email at email@example.com.
While the Deady decision is totally frustrating and disheartening, we ask all our fellow Black students to also focus on Black excellence at the UO and celebrate the arrival of a Black Cultural Center, the opportunity to create memorials in Dunn and Deady that celebrate the contributions of Black people in Oregon and beyond, the establishment of scholarships to support the recruitment and retention of Black students, the development of a curriculum that addresses the contributions of Black people in America and the Diaspora and the hiring of Black faculty to build a Black Studies Program/Department. These monumental additions to the UO will ensure that the UO is a place that is welcoming to Black students and that it has a role in bringing about their academic success.
These monumental additions to the UO are also a byproduct of Black student hard work and greatness. They are also just the beginning!
In solidarity with all Black students, faculty, and staff,
University of Oregon Black Student Task Force