Pres Schill: Keep Deady, add Black Cultural Center

Please consider posting your comments on the Senate blog here, rather than on UOM. Thanks.

Dear University of Oregon community,

Like many universities throughout the nation, the University of Oregon is actively engaging in issues of diversity and inclusion on campus and using them as an opportunity for debate, learning, and community-building. Some well-publicized incidents this academic year have underlined the importance of our efforts to ensure that each and every student, faculty, and staff member feels included and comfortable learning and contributing here. 

In this message, I want to focus on two decisions—I will not recommend to the Board of Trustees that it dename Deady Hall, and we will move forward with efforts to build a new Black cultural center at the UO. I am announcing these decisions now because our campus needs clarity about the status of Deady Hall and a clear path forward to focus on tangible actions we can take to improve the climate at the UO for students of color, specifically those who identify as Black or African American. 

In the fall of 2015, the Black Students Task Force presented UO leadership with a set of 13 demands. One demand requested the following: “Change the names of all of the KKK-related buildings on campus. Deady Hall will be the first building to be renamed.” In February 2016, I empaneled a committee, chaired by Associate Professor Charise Cheney, to provide me with advice on a set of criteria that could be utilized in decisions for denaming buildings on campus. After receiving the committee recommendations, I appointed three historians to research the historical record of Dunn Hall and Deady Hall’s namesakes and answer a set of questions based upon these criteria.

On August 9, 2016, we released the historians’ 34-page report. More than 1,000 people—faculty and staff members, students, alumni, and community members—provided input on the report and numerous editorials, letters to the editor, and commentaries have appeared in the media.

On September 1, 2016, in a letter to the community, I established a set of principles that would guide my decision about whether to recommend the denaming of a building on campus to the Board of Trustees. They are as follows:

  • Bigotry and racism have no place in our society or our university. Each of us must value each other based on individual merit and not the color of our skin, the social status of our parents, our gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or physical or mental ability.
  • It is vital that all students at the University of Oregon feel valued and included as part of this institution. This is true for every member of our community, but particular attention needs to be paid to members of groups who often feel isolated and alienated as a result of their chronic underrepresentation on campus and the legacy of racism in this state and nation.
  • We must be careful not to obscure our history regardless of whether we like what we find when we study it. The only way we can understand our present and prevent injustice from repeating itself is to study our history and learn from our past.
  • The process of naming or denaming a building has symbolic value. But symbols are less important than actions that affect the material circumstances of members of our community.
  • Naming a building and denaming a building are not identical actions and should be governed by separate decision-making processes and considerations.
  • Naming a building honors an individual either for exceptional contributions to the university and our society or for exceptional generosity. While extremely meaningful, naming a building occurs regularly and is usually done contemporaneously with, or shortly after, the life of the person for whom a building is named. The very purpose of naming is to establish a durable honor that stands the test of time.
  • Denaming a building, on the other hand, is an extraordinary event and should only occur in very limited circumstances. Many decades may have passed since the person whose name is on a building was alive, and information will typically be less complete than in a naming decision. Contemporary decision-makers will often be limited in their ability to evaluate the behavior of people who lived in circumstances and with cultural mores very different from our own. Denaming is also an act associated with ignominy and the destruction of reputation. We should normally be careful when we do this, particularly because the person involved will seldom be available to defend himself or herself.
  • Finally, denaming threatens to obscure history and hide the ugliness of our past, which is contrary to our institution’s values of promoting lifelong learning and sharing knowledge. Therefore, the presumption should be against denaming a building except in extraordinarily egregious circumstances.

In that letter, I announced my decision to recommend to the Board of Trustees that they dename Dunn Hall, a building that commemorated a former professor of classics at the University of Oregon who also served as the Grand Cyclops of the Lane County Ku Klux Klan. The Board of Trustees unanimously adopted this recommendation on September 9, 2016. Dunn Hall was temporarily renamed Cedar Hall.

Because the issue of potentially denaming Deady Hall was more contested, I decided to delay a decision until UO students returned from their summer vacations so we could continue the conversation. Throughout the fall term I have continued to solicit the opinions of community members on the question of denaming Deady Hall.  

In applying the principles for denaming to Dunn Hall, I found that the presumption against denaming was outweighed by the facts set forth in the historian’s report—namely that Frederick Dunn was the head of a hate group that supported racism and violence against African Americans, Catholics, and Jews, and was not a man for whom a building should be named on the University of Oregon campus. Matthew Deady, however, presents a more complicated case, the detailed facts of which are recounted my September 1, 2016, letter to campus and in the historians’ report.

In my view, the facts set forth in the historian’s report do not support overturning the presumption against denaming Deady Hall. Many of Deady’s historical accomplishments were exceptional. He was an active and respected legislator and political figure in the state. He was appointed by President Buchanan to be the first federal judge for the State of Oregon. He, more than any single person in the University of Oregon’s history, played a formative role in its creation and early years as a regent. It was his work in persuading Northern Pacific Railroad president Henry Villard to donate to the university that kept its doors open in the 1880s.

Of course, Deady was also a deeply flawed man. He held racist views which I find abhorrent and contrary to the principles of our university. His support of slavery prior to the Civil War cannot be excused, even if it was based upon his understanding of the “letter of the law” of property. Nor can his support for the 1849 exclusion act be ignored. The fact that Deady’s views and actions were shared by many Oregonians at the time he lived does not excuse them, although it does explain them. 

Although Deady’s racist views did not abate after the Civil War, he fully embraced the new constitutional order. The historians characterize his change as a “metamorphosis.” Deady supported the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which guarantee to all equal protection under the US Constitution. While he never had the opportunity to issue an opinion involving African American civil rights, he was a protector of Chinese immigrants.

Deady does not represent an example of an egregious case justifying overturning the presumption against denaming. Unlike Dunn, he was not the head of an organization which espoused violence against vulnerable populations. Also unlike Dunn, his positive acts and importance to the nation, state, and university were noteworthy and of historical distinction. For all of these reasons, I will not recommend that the Board of Trustees dename Deady Hall.

The fact that Deady Hall will remain a symbol of racial intolerance for many of our students is troubling. Many students associate this past and our continuing to honor a man who was racially intolerant as evidence that the university does not take their concerns about diversity and inclusion seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As I have stated previously, bigotry and racism have no place in our society or in our university. It is vital that all students at the University of Oregon feel valued and included as part of this institution. While the process of naming or denaming a building has symbolic value, symbols are less important than actions that affect the material circumstances of members of our community. It is these actions that we now must focus on.

We have already implemented half of the demands of the Black Student Task Force, including the creation of the Umoja Academic Residential Center, the creation of an African American Opportunities Program and accelerated efforts to recruit African American students to the university, and the hiring of African American faculty members including the launching of a new African American Studies cluster in the College of Art and Sciences. Once these faculty join the university we will work with them and our existing faculty to explore the feasibility of creating a Black studies minor and/or program. In addition, I will continue to advocate that the faculty consider and develop innovative changes to incorporate issues of race more broadly into our curriculum. We will also continue to finalize our fundraising strategies for diversity scholarships by the end of this academic year.

Today, I would like to announce my commitment to build a new Black cultural center at the UO. I have been convinced that, particularly in light of their small numbers, African American students need a place that will provide them with an opportunity to gather, reinforce their academic pursuits, enhance connective bonds that support recruitment and retention, and discuss their shared experiences and needs. We will work with our students to plan a structure that will provide them with a place of respite with programming that will promote their success. Fundraising for this project has already begun with a generous $250,000 gift from our alumnus and campaign chair Dave Petrone and his wife Nancy. The planning phase for design and construction will begin immediately.

We will also commence this spring with the renaming of Cedar Hall. We will solicit from our community nominations of names of individuals who have distinguished themselves in the fight for racial justice and equity. Our students will be involved from start to finish as we identify criteria and select someone who will embody the values of achievement, tolerance, and equity. It is my hope and expectation to bring this renaming decision to the Board of Trustees in June.

We will also move forward with plans to work with our students and faculty to ensure that the lessons we have learned about ourselves and our history are not lost. We will plan installations in both Deady and Cedar Halls that remind all visitors of their histories and of the continuing project of inclusion and diversity.

The work of making the University of Oregon a more diverse and inclusive university is important work and will not happen overnight. It will not be complete when we cut the ribbon on the Black cultural center. Nor will it be complete when we recruit more African American students and faculty members to Eugene. While I am grateful to the Black Students Task Force for placing racial equity squarely on our agenda, it will take all of our efforts—faculty and staff members, students, administrators, alumni, and community members—to make this university the inclusive place we want it to be. I am eager to get on with this work.

Sincerely,

Michael H. Schill

President and Professor of Law

Pompous Yalie twit insults Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, and UO Pres Mike Schill

In the NYT, of course:

Yale Sets Policy That Could Allow Renaming of Calhoun College

… “This isn’t about symbolic politics, but about the mission of the university,” said John Fabian Witt, a historian at Yale Law School and the chairman of the committee. Fostering an inclusive campus, he said, “is the best way to approach the project of research and learning.” The report acknowledges “a certain exhaustion” with the whole issue.

… As an example of an overly broad policy, Mr. Witt cited guidelines recently adopted at the University of Oregon allowing for potentially renaming buildings honoring anyone who demonstrated “discriminatory, racist, homophobic, or misogynist views that actively promoted systemic oppression” or who “failed to take redemptive action,” among other expansive criteria. “There’s a real risk that would catch up anyone alive before 1950,” Mr. Witt said.

Yes, research and learning can be exhausting, Professor Witt. But maybe you should have tried a little harder to understand the importance of redemption. Here are some references:

What did Professor and Exalted Cyclops Frederick Dunn know, and when did he know it?

9/29/2016: 

In response to questions about how likely it was that Professor Dunn was duped into becoming the leader of the Eugene KKK in the early 1920’s, I asked Elizabeth Peterson, the cinema studies librarian and film archivist in the UO Libraries, about local showings of “The Birth of a Nation”,  the infamously racist and KKK promoting DW Griffith film of 1915. It turns out she knows a lot:

My article about early Eugene and Springfield movie theaters has just been published in the Oregon Historical Quarterlyhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5403/oregonhistq.117.3.0452. I discuss the local screening of “Birth of a Nation” on p. 459-460:

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The Eugene Theatre (later the Heilig Theatre) showed the film for three days in the summer of 1916. The Eugene Theatre had a capacity of 760 seats and was in direct competition with three other large movie theaters in Eugene: the Oregon, the Rex, and the Savoy. The Eugene Theatre management ran ads for “Birth of a Nation” for a month in the Eugene Daily Guard leading up to the event. Both the Daily Guard and the Morning Register ran stories about the film’s production (these were likely placed there as PR items), and the Daily Guard’s theater reviewer wrote an enthusiastic piece in praise of the film: https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=fk9XAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FvADAAAAIBAJ&pg=4877%2C1815761.

I wasn’t able to find any other evidence of local reactions to the film, although there was a large outcry against it in Portland, led by Beatrice Morrow Cannady. There is an article in the Oregon Historical Quarterly about that protest (Kimberly Mangun, “‘As Citizens of Portland We Must Protest’: Beatrice Morrow Cannady and the African American Response to D.W. Griffith’s ‘Masterpiece’,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 107:3 (2006): 382-409).

Here is a link to a page from the Eugene Daily Guard that has a half-page ad for the film, and an article just below encouraging people to see the film and which mentions its representations of black people (“Master Picture of Civil War Period is to be Here Monday”) https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=fU9XAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FvADAAAAIBAJ&pg=6066%2C1766027

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I have also attached two items from the Eugene Morning Register that were published prior to the Eugene screening of the film. One has a tone of praise for the depictions of the Klan, while the other seems to express concern for a resurgence of Klan activity:

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I did a quick search of the Oregon Historical Newspapers database (http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu) and “Birth of a Nation” played all over Oregon in towns of all size during this time.

Whether or not Frederic Dunn saw the film when it played in Eugene, the publicity for it in local media was such that he was likely aware of it and its subject matter.

9/28/2016 Professor Frederick Dunn was not tricked into leading the KKK in Eugene

Earlier this month President Schill recommended denaming Dunn Hall, on the basis of Dunn’s position as Exalted Cyclops of the Eugene KKK chapter during the early 1920’s. The Board of Trustees agreed, despite the arguments of David Igl during the public comment period that Dunn was misled about the true nature of the Klan. At the time I praised Igl for his courage in taking an unpopular stance in defense of a dead man who could not defend himself. The RG has now published his defense of Dunn in an Op-Ed here:

Dunn was tricked into leading KKK in Eugene

Frederick Dunn, a University of Oregon professor of classics, was tricked into accepting the position of exalted cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan in Eugene for what probably amounted to a short period.

Ironically, it was because of the very fact that Dunn was an honorable and moral man of high standing that he was targeted by the Kleagles — the marketing reps for the Georgia-based financial scam that was the Klan fraternal organization — for this position so that they could use his standing in the community as a cover to make themselves appear legitimate.

It’s an interesting argument, read it all. I don’t believe it.

The 1920’s Klan was spawned by the notoriously racist 1915 D.W. Griffith film “Birth of a Nation”. The movie was very popular, and it sparked well publicized protests across the country over its insidious racism and its positive portrayal of the Klan. Here’s the infamous scene of the knights of the Klan riding to protect southern white women from a horde of black union army veterans. Dunn could hardly have been unaware of this controversy, or of the original Klan’s role in lynchings and terrorism against Blacks, or of what it meant to be a leader of the new Klan.

UO Board of Trustees denames Dunn, meets new admins, approves renovations

These are not easy to find on the Board’s website, so I’ve put them here. Schedule and links. Each link below takes you to a post with the respective committee agenda, documents, summary and sometimes some commentary. The full board agenda and materials and some live-blogging are at the bottom.

Academic and Student Affairs Committee —8:30 am – September 8, 2016, Ford Alumni Center, Giustina Ballroom 

Finance and Facilities Committee — September 8, 2016 10:00 am – September 8, 2016

Executive and Audit Committee —1:15 pm – September 8, 2016 Ford Alumni Center, Giustina Ballroom 

Meeting of the Board — September 8-9, 2016 [Materials] [Livestream]

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 – 2:00 pm – Convene Public Meeting

– Call to order, roll call, verification of quorum – Approval of June 2016 minutes (Action) – Public comment. Those wishing to provide comment must sign up advance and review the public comment guidelines either online (http://trustees.uoregon.edu/meetings) or at the check-in table at the meeting.

Jim Igl: He has provided written documents to the board. He is skeptical of the Historians’ Report’s section on Dunn, and argues that his connection to the KKK was tenuous and short lived. He notes that Dunn was a life-long member of a Methodist church that was famous for its eucemenical nature, not anti-catholicism. He also brings up Dunn’s family connection to Abraham Lincoln.

[I don’t know Mr. Igl, but I want to thank him for stepping up to tell us more about Dunn. As President Schill later noted, the dead cannot speak for themselves, and everyone deserves an advocate. It was a brave move, which I imagine will cost Mr. Igl some grief even though there was nothing in his remarks to suggest that he has anything but disgust for the KKK, racism, or religious intolerance. Quite the opposite.

But my takeaway is that when Dunn took the job as Grand Cyclops, even if it turned out only to be for a day, and only because he was duped, he went to a place from which there is and should not be any returning.]

ASUO VP Natalie (sorry, missed last name). Supports denaming Dunn and Deady. believes majority of students do as well.

ASUO Pres Quinn Hagga: Supports denaming Dunn and Deady, calls for an investigation of the names of all other campus buildings.

1. Recommendation re Dunn Hall (Action): Michael Schill, President

Chuck Lillis: We’re here to decide about Dunn, not Dealy, or Healy, or whoever he was. Oh, Deady. OK.

Pres Schill: Serious decision, those up for denaming are not here to defend themselves. Strongly believes that racism and bigotry have no place at a university. Dunn was the Grand Cyclops of the KKK, a terrorist organization that promoting lynching. Recommends Dunn Hall be denamed today, and then renamed for someone whose life does represent our values, after an open, campus-wide process. Thanks the Black Students for raising this issue, believes that the process they started has benefited us all.

Trustee Andrew Colas gives a very effective speech on why he supports denaming Dunn now, and also Schill’s decision to delay dealing with Deady until the students are back. I’m not going to try and summarize it, I hope the Board posts the video soon.

The still very relevant demands of the 1968 Black Students are here. Read it all, here’s a snippet:

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Frederic S. Dunn is denamed by unanimous vote of the Board.

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Dunn was also a member of the YMCA and a freemason, but he is not buried in Eugene’s Masonic Cemetery with his parents, or in their fabulous Mausoleum. Someone needs to hire HLGR to work on this conspiracy.

More Dunn trivia: The YMCA sent him to Italy to work with US soldiers after WWI. What sort of classics professor comes back from a trip to Italy hating Catholics?

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2. Seconded Motions and Resolutions (Actions)
–Seconded Motion from FFC: Pacific Hall Renovation (pending September 8 committee action)
–Seconded Motion from FFC: Oregon Hall Renovation (pending September 8 committee action)

Allyn Ford recuses himself from the vote, because he’s giving the money for this. Pretty sweet, and the board cracks up.

3. New Administrator Introductions: Scott Coltrane, Senior Vice President and Provost

Sorry, I got sucked down the Dunn history hole. Provost Coltrane introduces President Schill’s many recent hires. They all sound good from where I’m sitting. Schill gives Coltrane full credit for hiring them.

4. President’s Report: Michael Schill, President

Pres Schill discusses how much UO has improved in the past year. Agreed.

He then goes on to discuss how he is meeting the remaining demands of the Black Student task force and how UO is trying to meet them. Frankly, some of this stuff sounds illegal given past court rulings, but then I’m not a lawyer.

$1.05B in fundraising so far. In the past year *80%* has been for academics. As Schill notes, this is a turnaround.

Budget: 12% of Education and General Fund budget comes from the State. [Thanks to Schill for giving this correctly, instead of using the 6% of UO’s total budget – i.e. including the Duck crap, which his predecessors always trotted out to dis the state and the taxpayers.]

Lots of uncertainty about next biennium, particularly if Measure 97 fails. If it does, we will need double digit tuition increases and spending cuts.

[Me: Vote for Measure 97! Sure it’s not perfect but what tax is. Oregon needs more money for basic services like health and education, and HLGR’s Bill Gary and Sharon Rudnick are never going to get PERS cuts through the Oregon Supreme Court when the judges are in PERS, no matter what we pay them.]

3:25PM: Lillis recesses for a private “training session” with the Board. Uh-Oh, last time this happened they decided to subsidize Tracktown’s IAAF championship bid.

Meeting Recessed

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 – 9:30 am – Reconvene Public Meeting [Materials] [Livestream]

[Sorry, no live-blog today. Tran Nguyen has it covered on twitter: https://twitter.com/tranngngn]

5. Presidential Assessment Report: Chuck Lillis, Chair; Ginevra Ralph, Vice Chair

6. AY16-17 Tuition and Fee Setting-Process: Scott Coltrane, Senior Vice President and Provost

7. Clusters in Focus
–Center for Genome Function: Eric Selker, Professor of Biology and Member of the Institute for Molecular Biology; Diana Libuda, Assistant Professor of Biology; Jeffrey McKnight, Assistant Professor of Biology
–Health Promotion, Obesity Prevention & Human Development: Beth Stormshak, Professor of Counseling Psychology and Human Services and Director of the Prevention Science Institute

8. Federal Funding at the UO: David Conover, Vice President for Research and Innovation; Jim
Brooks, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management and Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships

9. UO Portland – Update: Jane Gordon, Vice Provost for UO Portland

Meeting Adjourned

President Schill denames Dunn, delays Deady decision until students return

Makes sense, he’ll hold some sort of campus conversation in October and whichever way this goes it shouldn’t be done in the dead of summer. Schill’s letter, with an analysis of the Historians’ Report, is posted here. Technically these are recommendations to the Board, which meets Sept 8-9. Full text:

Deady and Dunn Halls – next steps

September 1, 2016

Dear University of Oregon Community,

This letter concerns my recommendation to the University of Oregon Board of Trustees in connection with a demand by some of our students to remove the names from two buildings at the University of Oregon—Deady Hall and Dunn Hall. Prior to announcing my decision, I would like to discuss some of the events that led up to where we are now.

Introduction

Increasing diversity and inclusion at the University of Oregon are among our most important objectives for achieving excellence in academics, access, and student experience. It is central to our mission and embedded in our strategic framework. As I have repeatedly said and written, we must improve our efforts to recruit and retain faculty members and students from underrepresented groups, especially with respect to African Americans, who have been historically underrepresented on our campus. Only 2 percent of our students are Black or African American; among the members of our tenure-track faculty, the proportion is only 1.6 percent. Neither statistic is acceptable. We cannot and should not hide behind the defense that the state of Oregon has a comparatively small population of African American residents. Instead, this fact should cause us to work harder to recruit African American students and faculty members to the university and then, once here, make them feel included and part of our community.

In November of last year, after the racial unrest at the University of Missouri sparked protests throughout the nation, a group called the Black Student Task Force (BSTF) conducted a march on the UO campus and submitted a list of 12 demands that focused on how the university could increase diversity and inclusiveness for African American students. Many of the demands are quite reasonable—consistent with our institutional priorities and the IDEAL diversity framework—and, if implemented, would make our university a better place. Members of our faculty and administration promptly met with members of the BSTF and established 13 separate task forces composed of administrators, faculty members, and students to work on the demands.

In an April 26 letter to the campus community, I stated our commitment to immediately implement six of the demands including (1) expanding efforts to attract and recruit Black students through an African American Opportunities Program, (2) inviting six Black Greek letter organizations to the UO, (3) creating an African American residential student community, (4) creating new African American advisory boards for retention and advising, (5) creating an African American lecture series, and (6) publishing diversity data. We continue to work on remaining demands including committee recommendations to fundraise for a Black cultural center and student scholarships, hire a retention specialist, attract more Black faculty members, and expand or require curriculum offerings that explore the experience of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. I expect to make an announcement detailing our progress with respect to these requests in the early fall.

The Backdrop to This Recommendation

This letter concerns the demand by the BSTF to “change the names of all of the KKK related buildings on campus. Deady Hall will be the first building to be renamed.” On December 1, 2015, I convened a committee chaired by Charise Cheney, associate professor of ethnic studies, to seek input from a variety of stakeholders and provide advice concerning the criteria the university might use in deciding whether Deady and Dunn Halls should be denamed. I received the committee report on March 14. I then used the advice of the committee to write a set of criteria for denaming Deady and Dunn Halls. On May 6, I empaneled a group of three distinguished historians—David Alan Johnson, professor at Portland State University; Quintard Taylor, professor emeritus and Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington; and Marsha Weisiger, the UO’s Julie and Rocky Dixon Chair in US Western History—to examine the historical record of Matthew Deady and Frederic Dunn and address each of the criteria. The historians report was delivered August 9 and posted on the president’s website. In an all-campus message, I requested that interested students, faculty members, staff, alumni, and members of our broader community submit their comments and suggestions by August 24 so I could take them into account in making a recommendation to our UO Board of Trustees. Outreach efforts included multiple e-mails to all of our students, faculty members, staff, and alumni; articles on the Around the O news website; and contact with members of the news media that resulted in multiple stories about the request for input. In addition, I also sent direct requests for input to members of the BSTF, the Black Student Union, Black Male Alliance, and Black Women of Achievement.

Since August 9, 969 individuals submitted electronic forms voicing their opinions on the denaming issue. Of these submissions, 434 were from students, 186 were from alumni, 143 were from faculty members, 158 were from officers of administration and members of classified staff, and 48 were from other individuals. The participation rate in the comment period by our campus community was much higher than on any other input opportunity at the university in recent history (e.g., tuition, strategic framework, IDEAL). I also received several letters. In addition to these submissions and letters, at least 18 editorials, op-eds, and letters-to-the-editor have appeared in Oregon media on the question of the denaming. I have read each of these submissions and commentaries as well as engaged in conversations with scores of members of the university community.

First Principles

The question of whether to recommend that the Board of Trustees dename Deady and Dunn Halls is one of the most difficult matters I have encountered in my first 15 months as president of the University of Oregon. This is because many of the factors and principles I weighed when applied to the facts were in tension with one another, including (in no particular order):

  • Bigotry and racism have no place in our society or our university. Each of us must value each other based upon individual merit and not the color of our skin, the social status of our parents, our gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or physical or mental ability.
  • It is vital that all students at the University of Oregon feel valued and included as part of this institution. This is true for every member of our community, but particular attention needs to be paid to members of groups who often feel isolated and alienated as a result of their chronic underrepresentation on campus and the legacy of racism in this state and nation.
  • We must be careful not to obscure our history regardless of whether we like what we find when we study it. The only way we can understand our present and prevent injustice from repeating itself is to study our history and learn from our past.
  • The process of naming or denaming a building has symbolic value. But symbols are less important than actions that affect the material circumstances of members of our community.
  • Naming a building and denaming a building are not identical actions and should be governed by separate decision-making processes and considerations.
    • Naming a building honors an individual either for exceptional contributions to the university and our society or for exceptional generosity. While extremely meaningful, naming a building occurs regularly and is usually done contemporaneously with, or shortly after, the life of the person for whom a building is named. The very purpose of naming is to establish a durable honor that stands the test of time.
    • Denaming a building, on the other hand, is an extraordinary event and should only occur in very limited circumstances. Many decades may have passed since the person whose name is on a building was alive, and information will typically be less complete than in a naming decision. Contemporary decision-makers will often be limited in their ability to evaluate the behavior of people who lived in circumstances and with cultural mores very different from our own. Denaming is also an act associated with ignominy and the destruction of reputation. We should normally be careful when we do this, particularly because the person involved will seldom be available to defend himself or herself.
    • Finally, denaming threatens to obscure history and hide the ugliness of our past, which is contrary to our institution’s values of promoting lifelong learning and sharing knowledge. Therefore, the presumption should be against denaming a building except in extraordinarily egregious circumstances.

Dunn Hall

Frederic S. Dunn was born in Eugene in 1872. He received his AB from the University of Oregon in 1892, a second AB from Harvard University in 1894, and an AM degree from the University of Oregon. He served as professor of Latin until he retired in 1935. For many of those years he was head of the Department of Classics. According to the historians report (pp. 25–26), he was one of the best-known university professors of classics on the Pacific Coast and an active member of the community.

While little is known of Dunn’s personal views, it is clear that he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and served as the “Exalted Cyclops (leader) of Eugene Klan No. 3 in the 1920s. At its peak (1923), the Eugene Klan had an estimated 450 members” (p. 28). While the national Ku Klux Klan had a notorious record of terrorizing African Americans, in Oregon the primary target of the Klan was the Catholic population. During Dunn’s period of leadership, the Klan attempted to remove all Catholic officeholders and teachers from their positions. They also campaigned against giving Catholic-run Mercy Hospital a tax exemption as a charitable institution and tried to restrict the activities of the Newman Center, a Catholic student organization located near the University of Oregon campus.

According to the historians report, Dunn “made no secret of his dual role as college professor and Klansman. As the leader of the Klan in Lane County, he would have presided over initiation ceremonies for new Klansmen and participated in numerous Klan parades and rallies in the area” (p. 31). During its existence in the state, the Ku Klux Klan was publicly known for at least five physical attacks on Oregon citizens, including threatened lynchings and a probable murder of an African American, though it is not known whether Dunn participated in these attacks (p. 33). The historians conclude that “[w]hile we will never know how Dunn felt about the violence associated with the Invisible Empire, it is certain that he was aware of it and yet continued to lead Eugene Klan No. 3” (p. 33). No evidence was found that Dunn ever repudiated his role in the Klan. The historians conclude, “Thus, we are forced to surmise from the known activities of the organization he led during its heyday in Eugene that Dunn knowingly embraced an organization that, by today’s standards (but also in the view of most of his colleagues and students at the time), violated the core values of the University of Oregon” (p. 33).

In my reading of the almost 1,000 responses to the historians report by members of our community, a strong consensus supported denaming Dunn Hall.

Given the findings of the historians report, I agree with the conclusion of the majority of the comments made by members of our community: Dunn, as the head of an organization that supported racism and violence against African Americans, Catholics, and Jews, is not a man for whom a building should be named on the University of Oregon campus. While Dunn no doubt was a dedicated teacher and scholar, neither of these activities outweigh the harm he did by lending his name to one of the most despicable organizations in American history. Even though I begin with a presumption against denaming university buildings, Dunn’s case is an egregious one. Therefore, I am recommending that the Board of Trustees remove Dunn’s name from the building currently called Dunn Hall as soon as possible.

If the trustees accept my recommendation, I will take two further actions. First, a plaque will be erected in a conspicuous place in the building that indicates that it used to be Dunn Hall and explains why it was denamed. Second, I will recommend to the Board of Trustees that we start a renaming process with the goal of naming the resident hall for a man or woman whose life exemplifies the characteristics of racial diversity and inclusion that Dunn despised. This renaming process will include the views of students, alumni, and the faculty and staff.

Deady Hall

Matthew Paul Deady was born in Talbot County, Maryland, in 1824. He studied law in Ohio and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1847. In 1849 he moved to Lafayette, Oregon, and taught school. In 1850, Deady ran for and won a seat in the territorial legislature and quickly became the presiding officer of its upper house. He became active in the Democratic Party and was appointed by President Franklin Pierce to the territorial Supreme Court for Oregon’s southern counties. In 1860, President Buchanan appointed Deady to the US District Court for Oregon, making him Oregon’s first federal judge.

During the course of his life, Deady was deeply engaged with the University of Oregon. He is, in fact, widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the university’s history. In 1873, he was appointed regent by the governor, elected as president, and served in that role until 1892. He participated in selecting the university’s first president, served as commencement speaker at its first graduation, designed its first seal, and founded the university’s law school, where he served as a part-time faculty member. In the 1880s, he famously persuaded Northern Pacific Railroad president Henry Villard to donate $50,000 in railroad bonds to ensure that the university did not close for financial reasons. In recognition of his career and association with the University of Oregon, his name was affixed to Deady Hall in 1893.

The historians report concludes that Deady had a “very complicated intellect” that defies easy summary (p. 22). Deady ran for office as a proslavery delegate to the Oregon Constitutional Convention. The historians report provides a quotation from a letter he wrote to Marion County legislator Benjamin Simpson one month prior to the convention that provides an insight into his motivation: “There are some millions of Africans owned as property in the United States, and whatever shallow-brains or Smatter-much may say about ‘property in man,’ they are just as much property as horses, cattle, or land, because the law which creates all property makes them such.” The historians suggest that at least part of Deady’s support for slavery was tied to his view that the law compelled that result based upon the Constitution’s protection of private property rights. Indeed, this view of slaves as property is behind what many believe is the most calamitous Supreme Court decision of all time—Dred Scott v. Sanford.[1] According to the historians, Deady “did not press the slavery issue in Salem. . . .” (p. 7). Ultimately, the proposal failed with 75 percent of the voters voting against it.

It is questionable that Deady’s support for slavery was solely compelled by his interpretation of precedent and the Constitution. Instead, Deady was a man who had views that were racist and proslavery. Deady supported a constitutional provision that excluded African Americans from the State of Oregon, a provision that won the approval of 89 percent of Oregon voters. Further, in a speech reported in the Sacramento Daily Union, Deady was paraphrased as approving the Dred Scott decision and perhaps went further: “Deady said in Jacksonville that ‘he should vote for slavery in Oregon’ and argued that any constitutional effort to prevent free blacks from immigrating and settling in Oregon would prove to be ‘a dead letter,’ adding ‘If we are compelled to have the colored race amongst us, they should be slaves’” (p. 6).

After secession, however, Deady denounced the Confederacy, left the Democratic Party, joined the Union, became a Republican, and ultimately served as an honorary pallbearer at President Lincoln’s funeral. The historians characterized the change in Deady as a “metamorphosis” rooted in his “allegiance to the rule of law” (p. 9). Deady also embraced the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, initially designed to uplift and empower Black people, which went on to become the cornerstones of American antidiscrimination law.

In his role as a judge, Deady never ruled on an issue involving discrimination against African Americans. He did decide several cases involving Chinese immigrants and Native Americans. In his rulings, Deady demonstrated an acceptance of the principles embodied in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. He opposed the legal or extralegal harassment of Chinese immigrants and interpreted immigration laws in such a way as to protect them (p. 3). He never promoted a policy of internment. With respect to Native Americans, he ruled against citizenship, but also believed that at least one tribe had been unfairly dispossessed of their land (p. 3). These facts do not atone for his views on African Americans, but do establish his contribution to interpreting the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments in ways that led to future antidiscrimination laws, and which show a measure of change in attitude and behavior.

Thus in Matthew Deady we have a complicated man. Like many white men of his generation he had racist views. The exclusion provision he championed was ultimately supported by 89 percent of Oregon voters at a time when only white men were allowed to vote. Yet Deady also supported slavery, which was opposed by 75 percent of white male Oregonians. Was Deady’s willingness to support slavery despite a lack of support among the voting public attributable to racism, or to his legal views about property rights? We will never know for sure, but my reading of the historians report and some of the primary documents cited therein suggest both motivations were at play.

Returning to my first principles, does the evidence amassed in the historians report overcome a presumption against denaming a building?

Deady was a man of great achievement, not the least of which was his pivotal role in the founding and sustaining of the University of Oregon. He was also a deeply flawed man. As stated before, like many men of his generation he held racist views. Regardless of whether his support for slavery and exclusion was attributable to racism or a legalistic interpretation of property rights, in the end he was on the wrong side of history. On the other side of the ledger, following the Civil War, Deady embraced the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and their principles of equal protection under the law.

The input I received clearly shows our community remains divided on the question of whether Deady Hall should be renamed. Many feel that Matthew Deady’s name on our landmark building is a daily affront and sends the wrong message to prospective and current students. A large number feel that Deady should continue to be honored as one of the university’s founders and not judged by the standards of today. Despite this division, I believe that our community has greatly benefited by confronting some very ugly historical truths about our state and some of the figures who played an important role in the creation of the University of Oregon that we know today. While I have no desire to needlessly prolong the uncertainty over the future of Deady Hall, I also believe that we would miss an important educational opportunity by deciding the matter prior to the return to campus of our students and faculty later this month. Therefore, I have decided that I will refrain from making a decision on Deady Hall until the campus can engage further in a discussion of Matthew Deady and the future of Deady Hall.

To facilitate that discussion, I will reopen the comment period until Friday, October 14. In addition, I plan to work with our Division of Equity and Inclusion; and our students, faculty, and staff  to plan a campus conversation on the subject in October. Following the comment period and campus conversation, I will make my decision regarding whether to dename Deady Hall.

Regardless of what is ultimately decided concerning the naming of Deady Hall, we will not let this educational opportunity be lost in the debate over what we call a specific edifice. We will immediately begin planning a historical exhibition in the building that will educate all who enter on the mixed legacy of its namesake. This exhibit will be created in consultation with students, the faculty and staff, and the Presidential Diversity Advisory Community Council. We will also explore partnerships with the Oregon Historical Society and other entities to create an exhibit in Portland that will examine racism in Oregon. It is my hope that future generations of school children will view this exhibit and link the University of Oregon with fearless exploration of racism and truth, even though that exploration might be painful.

Conclusion

My decision will not be unanimously approved of by all members of our community, and I concede that there is still an important decision to be made. Nevertheless, there must be no doubt that we are unified in our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we will continue to make progress toward those important ends. In particular, we are grateful to the members of the BSTF for bringing this issue to the fore. Regardless of what names we use to refer to these two buildings, the BSTF’s transformative leadership has already changed our university forever. This debate, along with the initiatives that will arise from their demands, will make our university stronger, better, and more enlightened.

Sincerely,

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law


[1] 60 U.S. 393 (1857). The historians report finds that Deady never accepted the view that slavery was wrong. The report quotes a couple passages from Deady’s diary dating from 1884 and 1890, respectively: “Fifty years will have to roll by before the popular mind recovers its equilibrium on this [slavery] question. The war and the results of it have made a man who owned Negroes or obeyed and respected the injunctions and limitation of the Constitution on this subject, look like a criminal by this generation” (p. 20). “He takes my ground that the slave trade and Negro slavery were the means providential or otherwise by which the negro was educated and prepared for his present career of self-dependence” (p. 20).

President Schill to demote Deady to adjunct, require renaming every 3 years

That’s the rumor down at the Faculty Club tonight. The logic is that we’ve all learned a lot about Oregon’s racist history from the public debates and discussion over the Deady Hall denaming, and we want to make sure that no new class of freshman, or new faculty, ever forget. So Deady’s tenure is revoked, and he’ll be reevaluated every three years according to the rules in the faculty union CBA. Dunn, on the other hand, will be terminated for cause.

Ok, I’m totally making this up. The truth is the faculty are talking about nothing but the fabulous new Mariota Sports Performance Center and the exciting upcoming Duck football season, starting this weekend, three weeks before the students even show up, with a body-bag game against UC-Davis. Rob Mullens is The UO Budget is paying the UC-Davis players the UC-Davis coaches $500K or so for expected damages. Plenty of tickets still for sale on stubhub, starting at $22.

Vanderbilt denames Confederate Hall, and what I learned about my 7th grade Virginia history textbook

Vanderbilt University has just repaid the Daughters of the Confederacy their $50K 1935 donation, plus $1.15M in interest, and has denamed their “Confederate Hall”.

On the topic of what denaming controversies like UO’s over Deady Hall teach us, here’s what I’ve learned, starting with an illustration and quote from my 7th grade Virginia history textbook:

A feeling of strong affection existed between masters and slaves in a majority of Virginia homes . . . The house servants became almost as much a part of the planter’s family circle as its white members . . . The Negroes were always present at family weddings. They were allowed to look on at dances and other entertainments . . . A strong tie existed between slave and master because each was dependent on the other …  The slave system demanded that the master care for the slave in childhood, in sickness, and in old age. The regard that master and slaves had for each other made plantation life happy and prosperous.  Life among the Negroes of Virginia in slavery times was generally happy. The Negroes went about in a cheerful manner making a living for themselves and for those for whom they worked . . . But they were not worried by the furious arguments going on between Northerners and Southerners over what should be done with them. In fact, they paid little attention to these arguments.

Virginia: History, Government, Geography by Francis B. Simkins, Spotswood H. Jones, and Sidman P. Poole

In 1972, when I was 13 and in 7th grade at Buford Junior High School in Charlottesville, Virginia, we had a year of Virginia history. Every 7th grade class in Virginia used the same textbook, provided by the state.

This was only nine years after Charlottesville’s public schools finally reopened after Governor Harry Byrd and his Democratic machine’s “massive resistance” had closed them in response to court ordered integration. Byrd’s followers had replaced them with private all-white “segregation academies” housed in churches and private buildings, sometimes supported by public funds. One of the segregated Charlottesville academies was the Rock Hill Academy:

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 9.04.37 PM

From a 2013 C’ville news story:

Lane was Charlottesville’s public high school. Rock Hill was a private school created to avoid integration….

“We were not racist. We were not violent. We just were ignorant. We didn’t know better and we didn’t realize that we were the start of history in the Virginia area,” said Pat Jensen, a graduate of Rock Hill’s class of 1963.

“We did what Mom and Daddy told us to do,” added Helen Hatzenbeler, Lane Class of ’63 Graduate and chair of the reunion. “Most of us grew up in ‘Leave it to Beaver’ homes.”

Students scattered to different places when their school closed. In addition to private schools, some students attended schools in counties relatives lived in or other situations. Before going to Rock Hill, Jensen attended classes held in churches for a period.

The Byrd machine was finally defeated by Republican Linwood Holton, who pointedly bused his children – including Anne Holton, now the wife of Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine – to the newly integrated Richmond public schools. Yes, Republicans were once on the right side of fights like this, and Democrats were on the wrong side.

Our teacher was new in town. He made us read the official textbook, but along the way he taught us that plantation life was not “happy and prosperous” for everyone, and that not everyone called the Civil War the “War for State’s Rights”. He used books he brought in himself, and magazine and newspaper articles he’d retyped and duplicated in blue with a mimeograph.

I still remember the smell, and I think I had an understanding of how careful he had to be. He knew many of his white students would have gone to the segregated academies, and that many of their parents had supported Byrd. So while we read about Brown v. Topeka, he said nothing about Charlottesville’s own recent history. Looking back I can just imagine how badly he must have wanted to teach it.

Ours was the last year that textbook was used. I don’t know what replaced it, but I wonder if the students afterwards learned as much as we did – about Virginia’s history, and about how badly some people want to control what you learn and how you think.

I never knew the textbook’s own history. This excellent story in The Daily Beast, inspired by the Vanderbilt controversy, and from which the illustration and the quote above are taken, explains the role of the Daughters of the Confederacy in whitewashing the South’s racial history by encouraging the writing and the state government’s adoption of my 7th grade history textbook. Too bad they got their money back.

UO student Emily Olson writes sensible op-ed on Deady and Dunn denaming

In the Daily Emerald:

… There are plenty of people who disagree with me, and that’s fine — as long as they did their civic duty to research, debate and weigh the facts. It’s one thing to respond with a personal decision about Dunn and Deady’s morality; I personally felt conflicted about Deady’s racist actions after reading how they tied to his jurisprudential views as a judge upholding the constitution.

But it’s another thing to skirt around the question using arguments that lack legitimacy, relevancy or evidence. These weak arguments are floating around, and it’s time someone pointed them out: …

Read it all here.

Black Students and Mike Schill give UO & Eugene a history lesson on racism

The RG’s Diane Dietz has the news on the report from Mike Schill’s denaming historians. This story concentrates on former UO Professor and KKK Exalted Cyclops Frederick Dunn:

He was the exalted cyclops of the Eugene chapter of the Ku Klux Klan — “one of the most successful (KKK) klaverns in Oregon” — and a University of Oregon professor.

Frederick Dunn, who taught classics in the 1920s and 1930s, made no secret of his association with the racist and often violent group. ­Leading Eugene citizens of the day also were Klansmen.

These are some of the facts unearthed by a trio of historians the UO commissioned to assess the racial views and ­actions of Dunn and UO founder Matthew Deady — to see whether their names brought dishonor to the ­university and should be stripped from its buildings.

But the overall effect of the report is an indictment of 1920s Eugene, where citizens turned out to watch a Ku Klux Klan ­parade, where the Klan burned crosses on Skinner Butte for all to see, and KKK members worked behind the scenes to harm Catholics.

I thought of this scene from O Brother where Art Thou:

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 9.28.15 PM

But I’m sure that, in reality, it took a lot more than good music to run Eugene’s KKK out of town – though presumably self-interested politicians really did help – and obviously its ideas are still far from defeated.

Dietz also has a story on the Matthew Deady part of the historian’s report, here.

 

President Schill releases historian’s report on Deady and Dunn, seeks input

The University has commissioned a thorough, unbiased, blunt, and very interesting report on the racist views and actions of two of its early leaders, prepared by three noted historians. It’s linked to in President Schill’s letter below asking for community input on the Deady and Dunn renaming, and here.

Dear Campus Community,

The University of Oregon is undergoing a self-examination of its policies and practices with respect to race and inclusion, similar to many other universities throughout the nation. Last year, a group of students under the banner of the Black Student Task Force (BSTF) presented me with a set of 13 demands that ranged from creating new programs and increasing African American enrollment to construction of a Black cultural center on or near campus. We continue to make progress on these issues as outlined in a letter to campus in spring. Today, I am providing new information and asking for input regarding the BSTF’s call to change the names of Deady and Dunn Halls because of the racist views and actions of the men for whom the buildings were named. 

Earlier this year, I charged a committee—chaired by Associate Professor Charise Cheney and composed of faculty members, administrators, and students—to provide me with a set of criteria that would guide a decision to dename campus buildings. I considered the committee’s recommendations and, in a letter to the campus dated May 6, announced a set of criteria and processes. I asked three prominent historians to carefully review and investigate the historical records of both Deady and Dunn in relation to these criteria.

These three historians provided me with their report on August 5, which is available here on my website. As I requested, the report does not make recommendations about denaming either building. Instead, it carefully considers each criterion through a painstaking analysis of historical records and archives as well as relevant court cases.

The historians’ report is a sobering account of a tumultuous and difficult period in Oregon’s history. I encourage you to read the report and invite you to provide me with your views on whether one or both of the buildings should be denamed. 

I would greatly appreciate it if you would provide me with your comments using this form by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24.

Following this comment period, I will carefully consider the report and all the comments before announcing next steps, including the possibility of taking a denaming proposal for one or both buildings to the UO Board of Trustees at some point in the future.

I would like to thank the three historians for their expertise, time, and attention to this important issue. I also would like to acknowledge that the ultimate decision about whether to dename a building is exceedingly difficult and that the historical record in this case is a complicated one. Reasonable people, ethical people, well-meaning people will disagree about the right course of action. One of the things I have been most proud of during my first year as your president is that our community—led by our students—has approached some of the most painful issues facing our society with a tremendous level of commitment, care, and good sense. I am confident that as we move toward a decision on Deady and Dunn Halls, that level of wisdom and sense of community will continue to be in evidence.

Sincerely,

Sincerely,
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

UO Board meetings video: Senate myths, Divest UO, Deady denaming, etc

The UO BOT does not post videos of the board meetings – so UO Matters operatives will do it for them. More to come. (Links fixed, thanks.)

Randy Sullivan’s farewell speech to the Board: “Six Myths the UO Trustees believe about the University Senate” starts at https://youtu.be/qn1T21TlS_0?t=2h8m2s

Faculty Union President Michael Dreiling explains to the Trustees how UO gives its students education in science, finance, and politics – and they’re now using it to fight for CO2 reductions. Starts at https://youtu.be/qn1T21TlS_0?t=1h8m9s, the students follow Dreiling.

UO alumni and faculty use the Black Students campaign to rename Deady and the Boards public comment period to teach us all a little Oregon history. Starts at https://youtu.be/qn1T21TlS_0?t=1h36m2s. I’m hoping history lessons will become a regular part of the board meetings. I’m working on a talk about Treetops, Phimister Proctor, and Irene Hazard Gerlinger.

ASUO Student Government President Helena Schlegel – chased off the board by Chair Chuck Lillis – returns for a postscript. starts at https://youtu.be/qn1T21TlS_0?t=1h57m45s

President Schill lays out process to consider denaming Deady, Dunn Halls.

I’m no history professor, but the proposal for a panel of them to advise seems pretty sensible to me. I also like the idea of ending the process with an interpretive display of the history inside Deady Hall, or whatever it may be called.

To: Members of the University of Oregon Community
From: President Michael H. Schill
Re: Process for considering the denaming of Deady and Dunn Halls
Date: May 6, 2016

Debates concerning university building and statuary naming and denaming decisions have placed several important issues front and center across the nation. One particular issue is the challenge many prestigious universities face as they grapple with how to recognize historic figures whose opinions and views have proved to be abhorrent by today’s moral standards. It’s a challenge, too, for the University of Oregon as well as a leadership opportunity. As an institution that embraces diversity and understands the critical importance of inclusion in preserving the university’s status as a flagship public research institution, the UO stands on the shoulders of prior generations of Oregonians. These architects and builders of its excellence and its legacy included people who, like many of their generation, fostered—and sometimes championed—supremacist ideologies and exclusionary practices that are anathema to the values of the university today. Thus, the university struggles, like many of its peers, with the challenge of how to honor the legacy of those who created the strong institution we value today, while acknowledging and grappling with their often deeply flawed personal views and hateful actions.

Our goal must be vigilance in celebrating the diversity of races, ethnicities, religious perspectives, genders, sexualities, and ideologies that empower our intellectually vibrant community, while acknowledging the flaws and the strengths of those who contributed to the university’s legacy, some of whose flaws have been too long ignored. Just as this nation wrestles with the need to acknowledge the deep personal flaws of many of its Founding Fathers, while still appreciating the sacrifice and foresight they brought to the creation of our republic, the University of Oregon must examine the entire legacy of those whose efforts created our institution. We must acknowledge that an uncritical celebration of those whose thoughts and actions contributed to historic oppression adds to an environment that is perceived as hostile and unwelcoming to many people whose contributions are today so critical to the success of the university and society at large.

It is within this context that the University of Oregon, as a leading research institution that encourages lifelong learning as well as academic excellence, will take on the question of whether the names of Dunn and Deady Halls should be changed, using the process and the criteria set forth below.
In February, I charged a working group of faculty and staff members, students, and community members to suggest to me a set of criteria for denaming buildings on campus. I received that report and a separate report written by one member of the working group. Over the ensuing weeks I have consulted with a variety of faculty members and representatives of various campus constituencies, including some deans, members of the Black Student Task Force, and senior administrators. I would very much like to thank the working group for its careful analysis of the problem. Similarly, I would like to thank the Black Student Task Force for bringing the matter to my attention and for providing me with valuable insight and advice.

After these consultations and a good deal of reflection, I have decided to implement the following criteria and process to address the question of whether the names of Dunn Hall and Deady Hall should be changed. The criteria, while informed by the efforts of the working group on denaming buildings, are my work product and not theirs. Building on their recommendations, and after deliberation and consultation, I have determined to follow this process for an examination of whether to dename Dunn Hall, Deady Hall, or both.

Criteria for Denaming Dunn and/or Deady Halls
A building shall be considered for denaming if the person for whom a building is named acted in one of the following ways:

  1. Actively sponsored legislation or lobbied on behalf of laws and policies that perpetuated historic and contemporary acts of genocide and indigenous dispossession, slavery or internment, and/or promoted exclusionary migration or immigration laws, restrictive naturalization and voting laws, antimiscegenation laws, alien land laws, and laws or practices promoting racial segregation in housing and public accommodations.
  2. Promoted violence against an individual or group based on race, gender, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, or political affiliation.
  3. Was a member of a nongovernmental organization or society that promoted or engaged in acts of violence or intimidation targeting individuals or groups based on race, gender, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, or political affiliation.
  4. Engaged in practices, behaviors, or other actions that contravene the values articulated in the university’s mission statement and bring infamy or dishonor to the university.
  5. Demonstrated discriminatory, racist, homophobic, or misogynist views that actively promoted systemic oppression, taking into consideration the mores of the era in which he or she lived.
  6. Failed to take redemptive action, particularly in the context of the specific actions and behaviors set forth above.

Procedures

I will appoint a panel of three historians with demonstrated knowledge of the history of the state of Oregon and charge that panel with the task of examining the commemoration of Dunn and Deady Halls in light of the criteria set forth above. Specifically, the panel will be asked to evaluate whether Matthew Deady or Frederic Dunn engaged in the actions or behaviors set forth in the first five enumerated criteria above and, if so, whether their lives showed evidence of redemption (criterion number 6).

The panel will be asked to seek input from a broad array of sources, focused on information from the historical record. To the extent relevant information is available from persons outside the group, they should feel free to contact those individuals.

Once the panel of history experts reports back to me, a moderated webpage will be established by the university on which the report will be published and where individuals will be able to register their own views on whether the halls should be renamed. To the extent practical, information on the historical records of Dunn and Deady will also be published on the website.

I will take under consideration the reports of the panel of history experts, the material posted on the website, and any other relevant information, and decide whether to recommend the denaming of Deady and/or Dunn Halls to the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon. If I decide to recommend a denaming of one or both buildings, I will forward that recommendation to the board for final decision. If I decide not to recommend such a denaming, the matter will be deemed closed.
Regardless of whether I recommend denaming the halls to the board, I will entertain appropriate steps by which the university may acknowledge the full and accurate record of Dunn and Deady’s impact on the history of the university and the state of Oregon—and commit to the following:

  1. The creation of interpretive displays to be erected in a prominent place in Dunn and Deady Halls explaining each building’s history, the history of those with whom the buildings were affiliated, and how those histories might be viewed in their own times and in contemporary Oregon.
  2. A program for the installation of interpretive apparatuses, as appropriate, in selected campus buildings, statuary, and other permanent commemorative installations that outline their respective histories, the histories of those after whom they’ve been named, inclusive of all historical information.
  3. Genuine efforts to erect other representative icons on campus that speak to the contributions of underrepresented peoples at the university, in the region, across the state, and throughout the United States at large.

Should UO rename Judge Deady Hall?

3/4/2016: Diane Dietz has the latest on this increasingly interesting debate, in the RG here:

… Eminent black scholar Edwin Coleman said it would be a “disgrace” to remove the name of Matthew Deady from the oldest hall on the University of Oregon’s campus to mollify students who condemn Deady’s racist history.

… “He was a staunch supporter of (Oregon suffragist) Abigail Scott Duniway. He was a champion of women’s voting rights,” Coleman said. “He called for black suffrage. He kept a warm relationship with Portland’s African-American religious community.”

He opposed the ­murder of Indians and the mistreatment of Chinese immigrants, he said. “He knew Chief Joseph, and he had his portrait hanging in his chambers.”

Coleman and other researchers say they’ve combed through Deady’s voluminous writings and accounts of his actions. “There’s no trace of personal bigotry in his public actions after 1860 as far as I’ve been able to research,” Coleman said.

“Forgive this brother”

Deady, the first federal judge in Oregon territory, was the head of the University of Oregon’s first board of trustees. He drafted the university’s charter and included prohibitions against discrimination based on religion or politics.

But it took football to integrate UO racially, in 1926. From Fishduck.com:

Robinson was a multi-sport star at Jefferson High School in Portland, a gifted halfback on the gridiron and pole-vaulter on the track, as well as baseball and basketball. Williams meanwhile was a bruising runner in his own right coming from Washington High School in Portland. Both were high school friends and rivals, both selected First Team All-City their senior years, and both packing the stands at Multnomah Field on gamedays with eager fans fanatically following their athletic performances.

Together, the two of them would help Coach McEwan usher in a new era at Oregon, both in success on the field and in a far more important way off of it, paving the path for other minority student-athletes to compete at the University of Oregon.

It was not without its difficulties though, as both Robinson and Williams were initially barred from living in campus dorms, having to find housing in off-campus apartments during their freshman year. Their white teammates signed a petition and submitted it to the school under protest demanding that their fellow players be allowed to live on campus in the dormitories alongside their peers. By their sophomore year the university relented, allowing Robinson and Williams to reside in Friendly Hall, albeit separated from others and permitted to enter the building only through their own designated entrance.

12/16/2015: UO students protest calls to keep the Deady name, on the RG Op-Ed page, here:

The article and the alumnus, Scott Bartlett, emphasize in their defense of Deady that, as a federal judge, he ruled to protect the rights of Chinese ­immigrants, as if this negated his pro-slavery, anti-black views. We would argue that doing his job is not necessarily indicative of his belief in equal rights — especially as the historical record indicates his seeming transformation was nothing more than a political move to prevent rule by mob politics, not a miraculous moral discovery about social equality.

To be clear, Deady never repudiated his stance on slavery or blacks.

Furthermore, what the arguments for retaining racist names on historical buildings do not recognize is that those names continue to honor Oregon’s white supremacist legacy. To move forward, the UO needs to start acknowledging its racist history and take concrete action to remedy its part in perpetuating racial inequity. How can a university hope to recruit a diverse faculty and student ­population if it does not address its own institutionalized racism?

12/13/2015: James Mooney, UO Law Professor Emeritus, has an excellent op-ed in the RG, here:

… At statehood, President James Buchanan appointed Deady to serve as our state’s first and only federal district judge, a position he retained until his death in 1893. He issued many important rulings during that formative era of American law, including a sizable number protecting workers, seamen, consumers and others among the less fortunate.

Most relevant for current purposes, perhaps, was a remarkable series of decisions Judge Deady wrote between 1876 and 1892 in which he emerged as an outspoken champion of immigrant Chinese rights and sensibilities. Those decisions were, without question, an uncommonly memorable instance of federal judicial intervention against 19th century American racism.

… For example, in 1879 he declared invalid — as violating a recent treaty with China and hence the federal constitution’s supremacy clause — a series of state and local prohibitions against employing Chinese on public works. In addition, Judge Deady: declared invalid a Portland ordinance directed against Chinese gambling activities; overturned another ordinance purporting to “regulate” Chinese laundries; in 1886, in a strongly worded decision accusing the white majority of hypocrisy, struck down an ordinance prohibiting opium smoking.

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12/4/215: The RG’ Diane Dietz has more on the debate, here, and on the general issues regarding Black students and faculty at UO, here:

University of Oregon alumnus Scott Bartlett pleaded the case of 19th-century judge and UO founder Matthew Deady at a UO Board of Trustees quarterly meeting on Thursday.

… Bartlett, a longtime Eugene resident and civic activist, told the UO board that he’s not averse to renaming a civic asset. In 2003, he noted, he participated in the drive to rename Centennial Boulevard, which runs between Eugene and Springfield, to honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

… “Deady’s life was not exemplary in the early stages, with regard to racist and backward views,” Bartlett said. “But, just as we want our students to transform, he transformed.”

Deady became the first federal judge in Oregon, and in more than three decades on the bench made key decisions upholding the rights of the state’s Chinese population.

“He fought like hell against the harassment and brutalizing of Chinese immigrants, who were the largest minority then, and were in danger of being massacred in the (work) camps,” Bartlett said.

… Schill also announced that he’s appointed Yvette Alex-Assensoh, the UO’s vice president for equity and inclusion, to lead the university’s response to a dozen demands that black students presented to the university last month.

… Trustees later pushed administrators to hire more black faculty and increase the number of black students on campus. Currently, about 1 percent of the UO’s faculty and 2 percent of its students are black.

“One percent doesn’t even represent (the size of the black population) we have here in Oregon,” trustee Ann Curry noted. “We should be at 12 percent African-American professors and students — or at least moving in that direction.”

I have to say that the level of knowledge shown by the trustees regarding the numbers of available black PhD’s, academic hiring, student recruitment, etc. was not high. It’s too bad they don’t have a faculty member on the board with some expertise and willingness to speak on these issues. Susan Gary (Law) just doesn’t cut it.

11/23/2015: Mark Baker of the RG on Minoru Yasui’s Medal of Freedom:

… The key date in Minoru Yasui’s life was March 28, 1942. It came 111 days after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Yasui spent hours on Portland’s streets that night, violating the first stipulation of Executive Order 9066, a curfew that forbid those of Japanese ancestry from being anywhere outside a five-mile radius of their homes at any time, or outside at all between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Then a 25-year-old attorney, he could not persuade the one officer he encountered to arrest him and so instead turned himself in at the Police Department and spent two nights in jail.

He would be housed that summer of ’42 at the Portland Assembly Center, once a livestock pavilion, with 3,000 other Japanese-Americans, before being sent to an Idaho internment camp.

He was returned to Portland in November, where a U.S. District Court judge ruled that his curfew violation was unconstitutional, according to his life history on the tribute project website. But in a bizarre twist, the judge ruled that since Yasui had worked for the Japanese Consulate in Chicago in 1940-41, he had effectively renounced his U.S. citizenship and thus disobeyed a lawful regulation governing enemy aliens.

He was sentenced to a year in jail and fined $5,000.

In 1943, the U.S. Supreme Court heard his case and reversed the lower court on both counts, saying the curfew violation applied to U.S. citizens due to “wartime necessity” but that Yasui’s work for the Japanese Consulate did not abolish his U.S. citizenship.

He would spend the rest of his life appealing the conviction. …

11/20/2015:

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Deady Hall was the first building on the UO campus, completed in 1876. Originally just called “the building”, in 1893 it was named after Judge Matthew Deady, the first president of the UO Board, and the man who put the notorious black exclusion language in Oregon’s first constitution.

The obvious alternative candidate is Minoru Yasui, a UO Law grad and posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. More on this amazing man here.

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UO Law Professor Ralph Mooney has an excellent history of the evolution of Judge Deady’s racist views and legal decisions, here. It’s not as simple as it seems. By the 1890’s, as a federal judge, he was a strong defender of the rights of Chinese immigrants. Read it all, here:

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Comments welcome.

Full UO BOT meeting – March 4 – liveblog

Update:

Diane Dietz reports that the Trustees voted 11-3 to raise tuition – here:

… The trustees voted 11-3 in favor of Schill’s proposal for a higher-level of tuition. The students stood, yelled and stomped out of the room.

Trustees Willcox, Ann Curry and student trustee William Paustain voted against the higher-level tuition increase.

Curry said that the rising cost of retirement and medical coverage for university faculty and staff drove the need for the larger increase — and placing those costs on students backs is “not right.”

“It’s fundamentally unethical. I would go as far as to say immoral,” Curry said.

After the vote, Paustain joined the students in the noisy walkout. After last year’s tuition increase of 3.7 percent, the students shut down the trustees meeting.

She also has a report on BOT Chair Chuck Lillis’s anti-tenure comments, here:

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Meeting of the Board — March 4, 2016 [Materials] Live stream here

10:00 am (other times approximate) – Convene Public Meeting – Call to order, roll call, verification of quorum – Opening remarks   – Approval of December 2015 and February 2016 minutes, and March 2015 Presidential Factors Committee minutes (Action) –

Public comment Those wishing to provide comment must sign up advance and review the public comment guidelines either online (http://trustees.uoregon.edu/meetings) or at the check‐in table at the meeting.

The UO Board of Trustees is the only one I’ve ever heard of that doesn’t allow for a regular report from the Senate President, followed by some Q&A with the board. Weird.

The current Senate President, Randy Sullivan (Chemistry) has submitted written remarks to the board anyway. I’ll post them when I find them.

Chair Lillis opens the meeting. Will start with public comment on Deady, then tuition. In the past Lillis has been actively hostile to public comment, he’s mellowed considerably. 90 secs per speaker.

Theodora Tho Thompson, SEIU classified union president: Comments on new strategic excellence framework.

Public Comment on renaming Deady Hall:

Professor Emeritus Ed Coleman speaks in opposition to the renaming of Deady Hall, noting that Deady not only repudiated his early racism, he became a strong supporter of black suffrage, women’s suffrage, the rights of Chinese immigrants, workers, etc. in a lifetime of consistent work as a federal judge. “It would be a disgrace to remove his name from Deady Hall.”

Jerry Rust,’65. Deady contributed money to support women’s suffrage. Was a friend of Chief Joseph. Hired blacks. He was a supporter of diversity and, financially, his contributions saved the university.

Scott Bartlett, alumnus: Heartfelt remarks opposing Deady’s racism and reiterating his later redemption.

Public Comment on Divestment:

Students Emma and Amber (sorry, missed last names): For fossil fuel divestment – argues this is consistent with UO’s claims on sustainability. Emma notes that President Schill reports the UO Foundation now has only $4M invested in fossil fuel stocks. Too bad Jay Namyet didn’t get out when the students first started arguing for this:

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Comments on tuition increases:

[Note: For more details on the increases, and Schill’s plan to reduce the cost of UO by helping them graduate in 4 years instead of the increasing common 5: http://uomatters.com/2016/02/one-extra-year-of-college-costs-students-more-than-a-100-tuition-increase-would.html

Jimmy Murray (libraries): Reports on information he has collected about student opposition to tuition increases, as a supervisor of student workers in the library.

Shawna Meecham (GTFF president) speaks in opposition.

Amber Potratz, student, speaks in opposition. Learning disabilities can only take 12 credits, first in family, tuition is already too high.

Chandler (missed name): Couldn’t be happier with Ducks or his professors. Worried about student debt. Not saying this board is responsible, but asks board to do their part to combat student-debt crisis.

Student (missed name): Argues that increased tuition will make it more difficult to meet diversity goals.

Helena Schlegel – the student Trustee that Lillis got to leave the Board: Announces that ASUO supports divestment, renaming, Supports Kurt Wilcox’s proposal to limit tuition increase to 3.5%. Not asking for a tuition freeze – we understand the UO’s financial situation. But remember what it was like to be a student – even $90 is a lot of money.

Shawn Stevenson, undergrad. Let’s compromise – 4.7% is just too large. [Shawn’s an econ major, in case you didn’t guess ;)] Argues that UO can find the $2.7M. [Easy: cut baseball, make the cash rich athletic department pay for the $2.4M Jock Box tuition, etc.] Stevenson goes on to argue that the state is not giving UO money in part because the legislators don’t believe UO when they say they will use state money to provide affordable education.

[There’s a lot of emotion from some student and staff commenters. I’m surprised at how little recognition there is of UO programs like Pathways, diversity scholarships, etc. No one has mentioned Schill’s plan to accelerate completion to reduce the opportunity cost of college – which far exceeds the tuition increases. This would all be more interesting with some back and forth from the board. They’re getting a lot of very serious thoughtful comments from students, it’s odd that the board just sits there making sympathetic faces instead of getting into the back and forth.]

And then the penultimate speaker goes off the rails with a rant. Oh well.

The last one (missed name) reads comments collected from students opposing increase. Says she’s got 30 pages. What is the point of this? She’s shutting off discussion with this.

Ann Curry tries to save the day by suggesting that this can be put into the record.

Nope, she goes on and on. The other students tell her she’s made her point, time to sit down. She does.

1. AY2016‐17 Tuition and Fees (Action), President Michael Schill, Vice President for Finance and Administration/CFO Jamie Moffitt and Vice Provost for Budget and Planning Brad Shelton

Break 1b. Additional Resolutions from Committee ‐‐Seconded Motion from FFC: Authorization for Bond Issuance (pending March 3 committee action)

Lillis: Complicated, difficult, we’ve considered all the ins and outs.

Schill: I’ve listened to everyone, but my recommendation stands. Increase tuition by $405 per year.for the average in-state student. This is necessary because we must invest in the university in order to deliver an excellent education. I wish it weren’t so, but because of low state support we need to fund UO with tuition.

[Wasn’t one of the arguments for an independent board that there would be $2B in philanthropy to augment state funding? How’s that going?]

VPFA Jamie Moffitt: We had lots of public meetings, 3 forums, got feedback, then ignored it all. We’re unwilling to go after the bloated athletic budget and their hidden subsidies, because the jocks and boosters scare us. So we’re hitting up the students. And please don’t ask me about the $10M UO undergrads are now paying to prop up my husband’s law school. Any other questions?

VPB Brad Shelton: Info starts on page 68 of pdf here. Unfortunately this info was not part of the original board materials, here. This is too bad, it might have led to better public comments, or not.

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VPFA Moffitt then explains why UO is using millions from the “education and general fund” to pay for the jock box tutoring and Knight Arena land. Just kidding. It’s all about the increasing cost of salaries and benefits:

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Peter Bragdon mentions that not only does the legislature not fund UO much, they also impose unfunded mandates such as requiring UO employees to stay in the state health insurance pool ($25M a year, if I recall) plus PERS. They’ve raised the minimum wages, which benefits many student workers e.g. in the library, but UO will have to fund all that.

[Sorry, I have to go. Please post comments if you are here or watching.]

2. President’s Report and Strategic Framework Overview, President Michael Schill

Nothing says mediocre like saying EXCELLENCE. So Schill won’t say this word.

3. Presidential Goals and Evaluation (Action), Chair Chuck Lillis and Vice Chair Ginevra Ralph

Snoozer. Schill’s doing his job plus all the jobs the previous 5 presidents and interims were supposed to be doing but didn’t.

4. Capital Campaign and University Advancement Update, Vice President for Advancement Mike Andreasen

Andreasen isn’t showing much. I wonder why not? All the donations are going to the Jocks?

5. University of Oregon Foundation Overview, University of Oregon Foundation President and CEO Paul Weinhold

Basic due diligence.

I’m sure the Board will ask Weinhold some tough questions about the decline in transparency since he took over the Foundation, and his loss exposure for the various IAAF track championships.

6. Information Technology Strategic Planning, Provost and Senior Vice President Scott Coltrane, Vice President for Finance and Administration/CFO Jamie Moffitt, Interim Vice President for Research Brad Shelton and Assistant Vice President and Chief of Staff to the Provost Melanie Muenzer

Yikes.

Things that should be on the BOT agenda but aren’t (suggestions welcome).

 

Background:

The last time the UO Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition UO’s Public Records Office tried to charge $474.28 for public records explaining the increase:

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any documents provided to the Tuition and Feed Advisory Board, from 7/1/2013 to the present”, on 11/04/2014, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $474.28. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.

The university has received your request for a fee waiver for these records. The decision to waive or reduce fees is discretionary with the public body. After considering your request, the office does not consider that the totality of the circumstances you presented meets the standard for a fee waiver.

… Thank you for contacting us with your request.

Sincerely,

Lisa Thornton
Office of Public Records
University of Oregon
Office of the President

Really? No public interest in understanding why a public university is increasing tuition? A few months later the board met to approve the increase. The students came out in mass to protest. The very high participation by the international students was striking. Full post here. The signs called  out the administrators and coaches for their bloated salaries:

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BOT chair Chuck Lillis just couldn’t stomach the fact that the UO Student Board Member, Helena Schlegel, then proposed a slightly smaller increase. Lillis drove Schlegel off the board and had the Governor replace her with a new student trustee, picked by the board instead of by student government. What a horrible precedent.

Off course there are good reasons to increase tuition. The basic model is to raise tuition and raise the discounts for low income students. And, in fact, UO is proposing to keep tuition for in-state Pathways students at $0. This is really not that hard to explain to people. Every university does it – and there’s no reason to hide it.