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

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. …


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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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68 Responses to Should UO rename Judge Deady Hall?

  1. Alec H. Boyd says:

    So we’ve now got both a top legal scholar on Deady (Prof. Mooney” and one of Oregon’s most distinguished authorities on African-American literature (Prof. Coleman) weighing in in favor of Deady (joining tried and true liberal crusaders like Scott Bartlett and Jerry Rust).

    I think Prof. Coleman nails it when he states: “It’s really unwise and unfair. Much of this clamor is false fact, and it’s there to tarnish him.”

    The comment by Ms. Schlegel causes me some despair. I’m all for fighting the good fight, and folks like Scott have for years, but the notion that the truth doesn’t matter because calling Deady Hall by that name makes students “feel unsafe to walk in Deady Hall” just reinforces every stereotype in print about millennials.

    Fear needs to be conquered, not surrendered to. Especially when the way to conquer that fear is to ignore the rantings of those who spread false stories in an effort to engender fear and instead learn the optomistic truth to be learned from examples like Matthew Deady in our past.

    The key lesson is this: Errors can be corrected, people can improve, society can improve, enemies can become friends.

    Aren’t these the lessons are students should be learning in the discordant and fractured world we live in? The real world is a diverse place, and our students should be learning to conquer fear, learning to spot and overcome false stories, instead of being taught that they should surrender to, or need protection from, false fear.

  2. cdsinclair says:

    I vote that we name it Fixthegoddamheat Hall.

  3. Kay says:

    This is all very interesting. Judge Deady was married to my (4) great grandfather’s granddaugher, Lucy Henderson. I had not heard of this until today when researching Judge Deady …….

  4. Anna says:

    Deady Hall should be renamed to Kalapuya Hall to recognize the original people of this area and to respect the first people of this nation and Dunn Hall should be renamed after a prominent Black figure to counter the fact that Dunn was a KKK leader.

  5. Old Grey Mare says:

    There was some discussion as to whether the building might more appropriately take its name from the Crooked or Rogue rivers.

  6. Zaq says:

    Lee and Brown make an offhand point about McKenzie Hall that is not getting enough attention. Grayson was accused of stealing money from a couple dozen wealthy people and his name was immediately and uncontroversially removed from the building. Deady wrote laws that excluded an entire race of people from the state, but renaming his building is cause for debate and an attempt to “white-wash history.”

    I’m sure someone can come up with an ex post justification for the differences in reactions between these two cases, but I’m having a hard time seeing why all of the arguments floated here for leaving Deady hall as is don’t apply equally well to Grayson.

    • uomatters says:

      Zaq, you say about Grayson that “his name was immediately and uncontroversially removed from the building.” This is not true. Do some research.

      • Anonymous says:

        If I recall correctly (a big “if”) the decision to return the Grayson money was controversial. Once that decision was made though, the renaming decision followed soon afterwards with little fanfare. Was there a serious movement to return the money and still keep the name? A concerted effort to prevent the white-washing of history by keeping his name on the building *after* the money was returned? If so, I retract my previous claim.

  7. Alec H. Boyd says:

    It is unfortunate that the “concerned group of graduate students” comprising Masters students Jouapag Lee (nonprofit management) and Emily Brown (community and regional planning) apparently did not have the benefit of reading Prof. Mooney’s OpEd supporting Deady before they wrote their piece. Their argument appears to be based on isolated facts taken from Mooney’s 1984 article which ignore the full context of Deady’s life. This is the kind of “gotcha” argumentation that works well in blog debates but should have no place in an academic institution. If they had read Mooney’s OpEd, perhaps they would have understood the flaws in their argument.

    In short, the students’ OpEd makes a number of incorrect factual assertions that appear to rely on others’ characterizations of the primary sources.

    As an example, the students assert: “To be clear, Deady never repudiated his stance on slavery or blacks.”

    But, Prof. Mooney’s research reveals that Deady switched from the Democratic (pro-slavery) to the Republican Party (anti-slavery) during the Civil War, he also released a codification of Oregon laws giving blacks standing to act as witnesses (a controversial move) during the Civil War, and in 1872 supported black suffrage. These acts are fairly viewed as the “repudiation” the students claim never happened.

    Similarly, the students’ make what can only be viewed as a bizarre statement when they assert that: “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.”

    The students’ statement betrays both a misunderstanding of what the job of a federal judge is (to interpret the law – a subjective exercise) and complete ignorance of the judicial acts which led to the rise of Jim Crow. As Prof. Mooney convincingly demonstrates, Deady’s rulings are notable because unlike a great many other federal judges he was applying the laws enacted after the Civil War in the fashion they were intended to protect minority rights. Far from dismissing that as “doing his job,” anyone with knowledge of the historical context will recognize that Deady was acting in an exemplary and unusual fashion. The students have missed the entire point of Mooney’s articles.

    Of course, Deady’s diaries also reflect his personal feelings about the Chinese plight was not just about his antipathy to mob rule, something we should all endorse, but also his concerns about social equality for the Chinese. The students fail to place Deady’s life in any sort of context or chronology, faulting him for the actions of 1857 without considering subsequent events, and do so by a very selective reading of the available information on Deady (I speculate because they did not take the time to actually consider any of the original sources or even all of the second sources – presumably Mooney’s articles — on which they rely).

    In short, the students’ position ultimately comes down to one concept: Once a racist always a racist. But, this notion ignores history and the only concepts that will get us past the racial divide – redemption and forgiveness.

    • just different says:

      I propose that we instead tack on a big asterisk and call it Deady* Hall. Then every mention of Deady* Hall needs to include a lengthy footnote that references this entire explanation about how Deady wasn’t such a bad guy after all. Maybe bolding the part about redemption and forgiveness should help make it extra clear who’s in control here.

      Honestly, forgiveness needs to be earned, not demanded, and redemption is a gift given only by the aggrieved. When that day comes, we can have another discussion about the appropriateness of putting Judge Deady’s name back on a building. Until then, you’re just another defender of the inequitable status quo.

  8. Zaq says:

    The debate seems to have evolved into a question of historical fact: was Deady a racist? As I’ve said above, this point should be irrelevant to the conversation, and I feel that the BLM students are weakening their position by allowing the conversation to be framed as such.

    The real issue is that the decision itself lies in the hands of a white man. That white man may take into consideration the concerns of non-white students, but has no obligation to do so. This is representative of the modern minority experience in America: the interest of the underprivileged is advanced only if it is allowed by a benevolent white man.

    I wish we’d all stop talking about some long-dead boner and instead focus on how to advance the concerns of the classes of people whose experiences differ from those of the political elite. I don’t have the answers, but I am reasonably confident that the solution does not involve a committee of white people determining which of the black concerns are valid.

    • uomatters says:

      Regarding your “only if it is allowed by a benevolent white man” comment, the chair of the UO committee that will consider de-naming Deady Hall is a black woman.

      • Zaq says:

        A fair point, but she was appointed by Schill and has no formal power other than making a “recommendation” to the BoT. They are allowing this one particular black woman to have an opinion that they can then completely ignore if they so choose.

        But it’s probably a step in the right direction.

    • Alec H. Boyd says:

      Whether Deady was a racist is “irrelevant”!?!

      The real issue is the race of the decision makers!?!

      I’m sorry, but UO is an academic institution. Decisions about renaming buildings should be made with reference to the value of academic rigor and the actual facts do matter. It is entirely contrary to any concept of academic rigor to rename a building for the stated reason that Deady is a racist without reference to the true facts.

      The notion that any group of students should be entitled to have their opinions carry the day based on false claims is foolish. Foolish because it ignores the mission of a University is to educate students, not reinforce falsehoods. Foolish because such a policy would lead to further division and conflict by emphasizing and sanctioning hierarchies based on racial/ethinic/religious differences instead of striving for equality.

      • Zaq says:

        Here we go again, I guess.

        “Decisions about renaming buildings should be made with reference to the value of academic rigor”

        Why? We name buildings all the time without any thought of of “academic rigor”. What academic purpose is being satisfied by the name “Lillis Business Complex”? The library (library!) is named after a millionaire cobbler who famously exploits child labor, for Christ’s sake.

        We get it — Deady wasn’t all bad because he made the trains run on time (or something). Who fucking cares? The name makes some historically marginalized people uncomfortable, and the names of buildings has nothing to do with the academic mission of the university. It seems like a no-brainer to me.

        It’s amazing to me that you think that renaming a building “would lead to further division and conflict by emphasizing and sanctioning hierarchies based on racial/ethinic/religious differences.” We’re talking about an institution that has been presided over by an uninterrupted string of white men since its inception, in a state where every elected governor has been a white man (except one white woman). Similarly, nearly every building on campus is named after a white man. This despite the fact that white men are outnumbered nearly 2 to 1 in this country. The entire institution is living monument to the historical subjugation of women and people of color. Non-white students try to change 5 letters on the side of a building, an issue with infinitesimal consequence, and the white men dig their heels in and declare them “foolish.” Which hierarchy are you emphasizing?

        • Fishwrapper says:

          To be fair, he’s a billionaire cobbler…

          • Douglas Card says:

            Reading this I get the feeling Mr. Boyd has not read Deady’s diary — with its four pro-slavery post-war journal entries- but rather is relying on the one-sided presentation by Prof. Mooney.
            Seems he probably hasn’t read Greg Nokes’ “Breaking Chains” either.
            If Deady’s name is removed it will be in spite of his many great accomplishments; if it remains, it will be in spite of his flagrant racist positions on slavery and the Exclusion law.

  9. Census Worker says:

    Regarding the question of Oregon’s demographic composition:

    Oregon’s population is 2 percent African-American (the U.S. is 13.2 percent) and 12.5 percent Hispanic/Latino (the U.S. is 17.4 percent).

    The UO student population is currently 2 percent African-American and 8.4 percent Hispanic/Latino.

    In 2014, 4.9 percent of Ph.D.s in the U.S. were granted to African-Americans and and 5.8 percent to Hispanic/Latinos.

  10. Sun Tzu says:

    1) The FAC has historically been in charge of naming campus buildings. Seems like yet another example of power grabbing and micromanaging by the BoT.

    2) There are good reasons on both sides of the naming issue. Changing or not changing the name will not in the long term improve our University’s national or international reputation.

    3) The University’s stature is in decline despite the happy talk by our administrators. We should deal with the naming issue quickly and refocus our efforts on improving our academic quality while there is still time.

  11. Joker says:

    Insightful piece, slightly off-topic (about monuments rather than buildings), but with good lessons for us:

  12. justathought says:

    Retain the name. You could name a building after Ballmer and 40 years later there could be uproar. That Monopolist! There are already misgivings about the assortment of buildings that bear the Knight name.

    However, they should also install a highly visible plaque with an honest historical account of the man.

  13. Cheyney Ryan says:

    Three comments:

    [1] I very much agree that this string of exchanges demonstrates the value of U of O Matters.
    [2] I also agree with Alec Boyd that postings should not be anonymous.
    [3] I don’t think the goal of African-American/minority % of students + faculty should be set by their % in Oregon. We are presumably training students for the wider world, not just Oregon. –a wider world whose diversity is far beyond that of Oregon’s. I suspect Ms. Curry knows this, hence is not “insane”–as the (typically) ‘anonymous’ person charges; rather, she is attentive to what we claim to be doing here.

  14. John Public says:

    This thread demonstrates the value of this blog.

  15. Alec H. Boyd says:

    UO Matters states:

    [Begin Quote]>>>“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.<<<[End Quote]

    Elsewhere on this site you link to a report that states that blacks represent only a 2% share of the population of Oregon. That same report states blacks represent 1% of faculty. So are you implying that Trustee's have over emphasized the problem of black faculty recruitment?

    Seems to me that there is still more room for improvement. The percentage of black students is a bit less than 1% of the student population. So there is also room for improvement there if the goal is to reflect Oregon demographics.

    The 12% figure cited by the Trustee is roughly the percentage of blacks in the U.S. To reach that figure, UO would need to heavily attract eligible students from outside of Oregon, perhaps way outside of Oregon (California is only 6.7% black, Washington only 4.1%).

    I would be extremely concerned if I was an administrator at the U. of Alabama with 12% black students, despite that being the national average, because the state is 26% black. So I'm not convinced that the national average is the right goal for a state University to shoot for in recruitment. I'd like to hear the argument for Curry's line of thinking.

  16. anonymous says:

    People might check out today’s Emerald. A story about anti-Semitic acts at the apparently Jewish-related fraternity. Repeated occasions of swastikas being drawn on property, it is claimed.

    If this is true, it’s very troubling. The swastika is unmistakably a suggestion of deadly animosity toward Jews. If this is really happening repeatedly around here, it’s more egregious than anything I hear — repeat, what I hear, I hadn’t heard about the swastikas until now — being done with reference to blacks in and around UO.

  17. Dog says:

    can’t we just tear the building and start over again?

  18. anonymous says:

    If those alumni somehow become less enthusiastic about giving money to UO — except perhaps to athletics — I hope those on the “academic” side will show understanding and sympathy for their being upset.

    By the way, if Ann Curry really thinks UO “should be” 12% black in both students and faculty — I guess to match the proportion of blacks in the country as a whole? — then she is completely insane. I hope this does not reflect the level of thought among the board of trustees.

  19. anonymous says:

    Word is that the name change is going to happen, Schill wants it.

    I still think it is a cheap stunt and a dirty one at that. If they really want to honor this other guy, raise some money for a new building in his name. i.e. show some class.

    I wonder how Schill is doing at the fundraising business? At his salary, I hope pretty well. But I haven’t heard any big news about funding the cluster hires lately.

    • uomatters says:

      Give the man a break, it’s been what, 4 months? The board, on the other hand, has been around for more than 2 years, and is a long way from delivering on the promises of private support for academics that were given to the legislators who voted for SB270. $1.9B indeed.

    • Alec H. Boyd says:

      If I were in charge of the UO, I’d rename Dunn Hall (and Yasui is as worthy a person for the honor as anyone) and keep Deady Hall as it is. Why?

      I see no rationale for honoring Frederick Dunn. What did he do for the University beyond serving as a Professor? Nothing exemplary of which I’m aware. To the contrary, when he was an “exalted cyclops of the KKK” in Eugene during the 1920s when the KKK was acting against the interests of the University (and subverting the government of Eugene) in promoting an anti-Catholic and racist agenda. I am unaware of any change in Dunn’s private thoughts or public positions.

      The contrast with Deady, in terms of their times, their actions, their changes in attitudes and actions, and their impact upon civil rights for minorities in Oregon could not be more stark. Renaming Dunn, while keeping Deady Hall as is, but with appropriate historic markers, would provide a unique teachable moment that could set a precedent for Universities. The UO would be charting a path that condemned racism while recognizing, where appropriate, the complexities of history.

      When it comes to racial issues right now, there is too much black/white thinking. The UO could provide an example of a new way forward.

      • uomatters says:

        I don’t know much about Dunn. Do you have any links?

        • Alec H. Boyd says:

          The best source appears to be The Invisible Empire in the West edited by Shawn Lay which has a chapter on the KKK in Eugene which discusses Dunn and efforts to subvert UO authored by Eckard V. Toy. Excerpts are available on Google books.

      • anonymous says:

        “What did he do for the University beyond serving as a Professor?”

        Now that is a kind of telling statement.

        But let that pass. I too have more esteem for Deady. I had never heard of Dunn Hall before now. But I will reiterate — if you want to honor this new guy Yasui, show some class, don’t do it with a third-rate rundown dorm.

        But as for the KKK — yes, they did have it in for other groups than blacks, and others than Catholics — Jews, for instance. It so happens that I’m descended from groups despised by the KKK. And you know what? It doesn’t bother me in the least that this dorm is named after this Professor Dunn. I have a lot better things to do than feel resentful of that. And I would hope that others singled out by the KKK do too.

        • uomatters says:

          Princeton is currently going through a similar debate, about taking Woodrow Wilson’s name of the school of public policy. I thought this was a pretty silly idea, since the only things I remembered about Wilson were the probably apocryphal quote “Academic politics are so vicious because the stakes are so small” and Keynes’s account of his disastrous performance at the Paris peace conference.

          Then I read this NYT op-ed by Gordon Davis, about what Wilson’s racism did to his grandfather. I’d never known about this resegregation of the civil service, or Wilson’s role in it. It makes me wonder what untold stories there are about what effect Deady and Dunn had on the lives of people in Oregon.

          Again, I don’t think this necessarily means we should change the names. Doing so removes the honor we gave these people, but risks forgetting some ugly history. If we rename it for Yasui, then it’s all an uplifting story about our country’s progress. And that’s just not the truth.

          We’re all learning a lot, so I favor dragging this debate out as long as possible. And I know just the way to do it – a Senate Committee!

          … Even as the strictures of Jim Crow segregation began to harden in the South, Washington, and the federal Civil Service, offered African-Americans real opportunity for employment and advancement. Thousands passed the civil-service exam to gain coveted spots in government agencies and departments. In 1882, soon after graduating from high school, the young John Davis secured a job at the Government Printing Office.

          Over a long career, he rose through the ranks from laborer to a position in midlevel management. He supervised an office in which many of his employees were white men. He had a farm in Virginia and a home in Washington. By 1908, he was earning the considerable salary — for an African-American — of $1,400 per year.

          But only months after Woodrow Wilson was sworn in as president in 1913, my grandfather was demoted. He was shuttled from department to department in various menial jobs, and eventually became a messenger in the War Department, where he made only $720 a year.

          By April 1914, the family farm was auctioned off. John Davis, a self-made black man of achievement and stature in his community at the turn of the 20th century, was, by the end of Wilson’s first term, a broken man. He died in 1928.

          Many black men and women suffered similar fates under Wilson.

        • just different says:

          I’m also descended from groups persecuted by the KKK, and I also don’t give a crap about Dunn Hall. Know why? Because I’m white. If I were black, I might well feel differently. You really don’t get to judge whether someone whose experiences have been very different from yours should or should not feel “resentful.”

        • Phillip Drummond says:

          I agree! In polite society we don’t call racists out by name, nor do we worry about the symbols of our racist past. These kids who want to shed light on inequality should find better things to do with their time. They should show some class, perhaps start a wine collection.

          • anonymous says:

            Actually, sending Judge Deady down the memory hole is precisely a way of not “worrying about the symbols of our racist past.” Because after his name has been “whitewashed,” he will be completely forgotten, along with a part of local Oregon and UO history. That is the goal, whether the proponents even realize it or not.

          • anonymous says:

            I’m not so sure that isn’t the goal rattling around in the back of the craniums of some of the proponents — but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

  20. Trond Jacobsen says:

    Alec Boyd is a smart person, a great lawyer, and a great UO alum. I disagree with his take on the issue of the Deady building name.

    Boyd makes many great points about the nature of historical complexities in general and those of Judge Deady in particular. Points some others in this thread gloss over too readily, in my view.

    What Boyd does not do is develop a compelling case *against* name change, as is his evident objective.

    To honor Deady for his substantial accomplishments for the university and for a measure of far-sighted racial jurisprudence later in life does not necessarily require the building be in his name in perpetuity. An historical marker outside the building explaining that it used to be called Deady and is now called Yasui (or whatever) would, by Boyd’s own argument, seems a remedy to whatever is “lost” in the event of a name change.

    Deady has been honored for nearly 150 years, so the real question is what is the marginal benefit of *continuing* to honor him via the naming of Deady Hall vs. honoring him in other (perhaps more educational) ways and the benefit of honoring worthy other persons plus the benefit of engaging current calls for justice.

    Boyd’s argument about teachable moments seems non-unique; with the controversy started we have that opportunity whether the name is changed or not…indeed the process of changing it arguably enlarges the scope and salience of that moment. Until the naming controversy maybe 2% of the student body could have told you Deady’s first name, much less anything about him or his history.

    The argument for the name change of that particular building, as compared to some other, beyond the simple view that Deady was some sort of unreconstructed racist, is that symbols matter.
    Some symbolic actions are irrelevant or counterproductive, of course, or, worse, false hope (“that’s just symbolic”).

    But a university community choosing to wrestle with its racist legacies by changing the name of its first building from a complex and important and interesting 19th century racist to a complex and important and interesting 20th century advocate of racial justice seems entirely appropriate.

    In no way does it erase or “white wash” history; keep teaching that history. Indeed there is probably no historical factor about which modern “liberal” Oregonians are more ignorant than the depth of racism that was at the heart of the formation of this state and remained true for much of its history, and is still true in far too many ways. Oregon was arguably the most overtly racist state outside of the South, at least in terms of anti-blackness (it is basically a race between Oregon, Indiana, and Pennsylvania). Racism built, overtly, into the constitution. Oregon as a sanctuary for 1000s of Confederate soldiers and their families moving to a “racially pure” state after the Civil War. The KKK basically ran the legislature in the 1920s. Sundown laws in many towns through the 1960s, and on and on. The University of Oregon, as the state’s flagship institution, played its part in this sorry history. It also has played an important role in rectifying this history, not least in the person of Yasui.

    Acknowledging all of this and choosing to rename Deady Hall does not require embracing a simple view of the man. It draws, however, much deserved honor and attention to Yasui, a UO grad of great renown, more than some other naming option *because* it would replace Deady, such an important figure in the history of the institution. It makes institutional history and its representation a part of the current political landscape in ways that may prove valuable to a campus community wrestling with current social problems with deep historical and cultural roots.

    Boyd makes a case that Deady is a more complex and institutionally-significant person that some recognize. He makes the case that history is more difficult and contingent than a simple view of Deady’s legacy allows.

    All true.

    None of it a particularly compelling argument against name change, especially comparing the marginal benefit of continuing to honor Deady in this way vs. the benefits of renaming, including realizing the full potential of a teachable moment about Oregon and this university.

    • Alec H. Boyd says:

      I am not at all surprised that UO’s distinguished Director of Forensics has presented a compelling and cogent argument. As Trond knows, I’m always open to changing my position in a discussion like this, and a post of this quality is a model of how to disagree in a persuasive fashion that might actually ultimately lead an opponent to a change of position.

      Great post. I both agree and disagree with points you make.

      I disagree with your choice to frame this debate as a choice between honoring Deady and honoring Yasui. That is a false dichotomy. Both can be honored. Elsewhere I have voiced my thought that Yasui, who is notable as the first Asian law school graduate from UO, first Asian member of the Oregon Bar, and for courageously taking a strong legal stand against the Japanese internment, is most appropriately honored in connection with the UO law school. But, I also recognize that might not be practical. Still, there is nothing intrinsically connecting Yasui with Deady Hall and there are other naming opportunities on UO’s campus.

      The focus upon renaming Deady Hall, I suspect, arises from a desire to have maximum symbolic, and let’s face it, shock value. But the symbolic action that Trond views as entirely appropriate hinges upon the notion, as he puts it, that Deady is nothing more than an “interesting 19th century racist.”

      I find that characterization far too simplistic. Prof. Mooney’s article paints a very complex picture of Deady and his attitudes on race. Oregon was an overtly racist, Democrat controlled, territory when Deady arrived in November 1849 (five years after the first black exclusionary law was passed). Deady, a somewhat poor attorney, unsurprisingly given his legal occupation, immediately moved into the realm of politics. In June 1850 he was elected to the Territorial Assembly.

      In 1857, a mere eight years after moving to Oregon, at the age of 33, Deady had built himself into a player in the Democratic Party and the Oregon Constitutional convention. In that key year, Deady took positions and made public and private pronouncements which cannot be characterized as anything other than racist against both blacks and Chinese.

      But, Prof. Mooney notes, “Deady’s attitudes on racial issues are difficult to characterize with confidence.” Prof. Mooney explains that “there is little direct evidence to illuminate Deady’s racial views in any detail. He seems to have expressed them publicly or in correspondence principally during four months in 1857 when the slavery issue so dominated Oregon politics.”

      Prior to 1857 he had demonstrated a strong sympathy for the plight of native Americans in both his personal correspondence (complaining of lawless conduct by whites against Indians, who he characterized as “honest, law abiding citizens,” resulting in the loss of their lives and property) and his actions (interving on behalf of Indians in Southern Oregon whom whites were trying to evict and take their land).

      Money notes that after the commencement of the Civil War, Deady displayed an enlightened view on civil rights in a number of instances. In 1864, Deady “provided in his Code of Civil Procedure that all persons, regardless of race, were to be competent witnesses, a controversial change from prior practice.” In 1872, Deady supported black suffrage. And from 1872 onward he issued a series of court decisions supporting Chinese civil rights and opposing racism against that minority.

      Prof. Mooney characterizes that body of law thusly: “the major institutional conclusion to be reached from Deady’s own work is much more welcome, even optomistic. It is that one federal judge, in one Far West state, did respond to local race prejudice in very much the way Congress intended when expanding federal court jurisdiction during Reconstruction. The postwar Removal Acts, Habeas Corpus Act, Civil Rights Acts, and Judiciary Act all increased the power of federal judges to deal with with local prejudice when other legal institutions would not. Those acts, prompted principally by Congressional concern for Southern freedmen, enable a Western federal judge like Deady to intervene effectively a decade later for a different minority, the Chinese.”

      Prof. Mooney continues: “it would be wrong to conclude that Deady’s decisions and rhetoric were unimportant. At the most obvious level, he prevented a great many injustices to individual Chinese who otherwise would have had racist legislation enforced against them. … At a deeper level, Deady’s well-publicized decisions must have been a source of comfort and reassurance to Portland’s entire Chinese community. The most prominent and powerful judicial officer in Oregon not only did not support the widespread campaign against their presence; he repeatedly used his position to oppose and denounce it.”

      “Finally,” Prof. Mooney writes, “Deady’s judicial advocacy for Chinese rights provided a measure of moral leadership to Portland’s white community. While direct evidence for this is sparse, the high professional regard Oregonians had for Deady, and the editorial support he often received from Oregonian editor Harvey Scott, insured that his views on the Chinese question would be taken seriously. The remarks of his eulogists also confirm that the ‘courage’ he exhibited in decisions involving Chinese was a major feature of the public perception of his career.”

      Based on Deady’s decisions regarding Asian civil rights, it is not a stretch to suppose that had Yasui had Deady as his judge, he would have prevailed in the trial court.

      Which begs this question: What symbolic message would we send if the name of Deady Hall were changed?

      Deady was honored by the naming of Deady Hall due to his service to the University. A rationale that in itself still warrants that honor today.

      Stripping his name from Deady Hall based on his attitudes or actions in 1857 (early in his public life in Oregon and at a relatively young age) towards slavery and black exclusion, which appear to have changed post-Civil War, while ignoring his many positive contributions to Chinese Civil Rights in the vast bulk of his public life in Oregon, sends what message?

      That racist attitudes cannot change? That all positions are cast in concrete? That only perfect people are worthy of honor? That the evolution in a person’s attitudes on issues of race should be ignored instead of celebrated? Something else?

      Personally, I think the discourse on race is best served by recognizing that racism is pervasive, racist attitudes can be overcome, and it is important to understand the complexities of our history (bravo for historical markers!), not bury them by stripping the names of complex figures from public structures.

  21. Alec H. Boyd says:

    Worth noting that Prof. Mooney, who was a law professor by trade, not a historian, and whose article admittedly is not the final word on the subject, had this to say about Deady:

    “In early Oregon, for example, law regarding race served primarily to institutionalize and legitimize white racism. … An important exception to this general pattern, however, may be found in the decisions and pronouncements of Matthew P. Deady, Oregon’s first federal district judge, who late in his career became an outspoken champion of immigrant Chinese rights and sensibilities. This paper examines Deady’s life and career as they touched on matters of race, and particularly is his remarkable series of decisions on racial issues written between 1876 and 1892. Those decisions, read together, reveal a memorable instance of federal judicial intervention against nineteenth century American racism.”

  22. Alec H. Boyd says:

    I’ve noticed that anonymous posting leads to rude comments and thin reasoning. Hopefully, the folks debating this idea in the forums which decide the issue, who will do so under their real names, will give the topic the thought it deserves. The problem I have with this idea of renaming Deady Hall is that the scholarship is not rigorous, which should be fatal at a University.

    This topic first came up in the context of putting up a “historical marker.” As a big fan of historical markers, I view the idea of erecting them to acknowledge UO’s diverse history as a fascinating and valuable one.

    Personally, I would be extremely interested in seeing markers which are actually tied to the UO and which would be placed in appropriate locations geographically. With regard to Deady Hall, it could be noted that Deady Hall is named after Matthew Deady because he not only was a notable Oregon politician and jurist (we lawyers can blame him for the famous case of Pennoyer v. Neff), but was part and parcel of the University’s history, serving as president of the Board of Regents from 1873 to 1893, helped found the law school, and, among other things, designed the University’s seal.

    I knew Prof. Mooney, and I’ve read his articles on Deady. One major point made in his articles is that Deady was the jurist who acted to protect Asian minorities from assaults by mobs in Portland. It was an action that stood in stark contrast to the anti-Asian majority attitude of the day. So to take his name off of a building in favor of a victim of the Japanese internment sends a very mixed message that is laced with irony.

    Renaming Deady Hall, which seems far beyond the ambit of the historical markers concept in which this idea was first floated, is nothing more than an attempt to white wash history rather than illuminate it as the markers would seek to do.

    History is complicated. It would be much more illustrative of our state’s history (and the complexity of people, especially as they age and gain wisdom) to mount a marker explaining that while Deady commenced his political life as a pro-slavery pro-white only Oregon Democrat, an unfortunately popular strain of thought pre-Civil War in Oregon, he ended his public life not only pro-protection of minorities, but also having admitted the first woman to the Oregon bar.

    In short, Deady was of his time, but he evolved. There’s a lesson there that this University community would do well to learn. Deady’s action and motivations at various points in his life should be raised and examined, because the outcomes are noteworthy and cause for hope.

    Life is complex, people are not simple, and students (and, maybe more importantly, educators) need to be reminded that contradictions are more the norm than the exception (think Earl Warren, the architect of both Brown v. Board of Education and a promoter of Japanese internment). Deady’s life is a teachable moment that would be best used to illuminate rather than to delete.

    The thinking on this issue seems less than academic.

    I’d love to see historical markers talking about the University’s first minority students, first integrated dorms and frats, contributions to the civil rights movement (Freedom Riders and the black afro controversy would be good stories to tell) notable women, etc., etc., etc. Great idea, the history is there, but it needs to be mined vigorously and appropriately.

    But, renaming Deady Hall takes a teachable moment and pretends it didn’t exist. It is burying history, not illuminating it.

    Which is not to say that Mr. Yasui is undeserving of being honored. I think he is. But there are better ways.

    • Zaq says:

      The naming of this building had nothing to do with scholarship. The building was named after a man who once held a position of power on campus and in the state of Oregon. Deady’s name is on the building because of the power he once held, NOT for any scholarly reason.

      Deady used his position of power to actively subjugate people of color. Because of his actions, people of color were unable to achieve the power necessary to have buildings named after themselves. Renaming the building does not “white wash” history (a curious choice of words), it simply acknowledges the fact that Deady’s power was illegitimately gained. That he changed his mind about minorities later in life is irrelevant, as the monument stands as a testament to his power rather than his intellectual growth.

      It is telling that you, a white man, would “love to see historical markers talking about the University’s first minority students, first integrated dorms and frats, contributions to the civil rights movement,” but you are against (re)naming buildings after these same people. In your view, gaining power from (and contributing to) racist institutions is sufficient for having ones name enshrined on a building, but acknowledging and attempting to account for the asymmetric power dynamics that continue to shape our history is not considered “rigorous scholarship.”

      But I agree that Deady’s life offers a “teachable moment.” We should acknowledge the institutional shortcomings that led to men like Deady having buildings named after them. We should then systematically dismantle the shrines built to these men and replace them with shrines to those who fought against the oppressors. And all of this should be done in the name of scholarship.

      • Alec H. Boyd says:


        I think you just proved my point about the rudeness of anonymous posters. I’m surprised this type of personal attack survives the “moderation” on this site. I also think your post epitomizes the lack of scholarship behind this effort that gives me pause.

        First, we agree that the building was originally named after Deady to honor his prominent role in promoting the UO, including founding the law school, and his stature in the Oregon legal community. If you read my post as asserting it was named for him as a result of “any scholarly reason,” then you didn’t comprehend my post.

        Second, you assert: “Deady used his position of power to actively subjugate people of color.” That is a very uninformed, black/white, and less than scholarly version of Oregon’s history. That you believe that the fact that Deady “changed his mind about minorities later in life is irrelevant” to whether a building should be named after him demonstrates your lack of scholarly nuance. It is very relevant, especially when the argument against maintaining the name is that he “subjugated people of power.”

        R. Gregory Nokes, author of Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory, notes that Oregon’s exclusion laws were first enacted in 1844 and were re-enacted at least once before the state Constitutional convention. In short, before Deady even got to the State Constitutional convention, Oregon had a history of exclusionary laws before Deady came on the scene.

        There is no doubt that Deady was one of many proponents of Oregon exclusionary laws. He was far from alone. The constitution was put to a popular vote in 1857. Two referendums were voted on independently. The first was whether Oregon should reject slavery. Roughly 75 percent of voters opted to reject the adoption of slavery. The second whether to exclude non-whites (other than natives) from the state. 89 percent of voters cast their vote in favor of excluding non-whites from the state.

        Sad history to be sure.

        But, this was before the Civil War. What your simplistic telling of Deady’s story ignores is what happened after the Civil War. Proponents of exclusionary laws changed their minds on their wisdom. The proponent of the 1844 exclusionary law concluded post-Civil War it was a mistake. Deady’s attitude also changed. He went from attempting to exclude minorities from the State of Oregon to becoming a judicial activist in favor of protecting minority rights. And he did so in a time period when that was not a popular sentiment. He was ahead of the civil rights curve in protecting Asian rights.

        As I said, there is a great irony in wanting to strip Deady’s name off of a building to be replaced by Yasui when Deady was a promoter of civil rights for Asians. It is worth noting that Min Yasui, during his lifetime, received the ACLU “Earl Warren” civil rights award. Warren, of course, before he became known as a civil rights proponent through his opinion in Brown, etc., was a promoter of the internment of Japanese Americans. Yet, Yasui and his family appear to have been proud of the award, despite it being named after an imperfect person.

        Your logic would support stripping Earl Warren’s name off of that award. While that logic might have appeal from a crude political perspective to an activist, a University should take a more scholarly look. There are no perfect people.

        Finally, your personal insults miss their mark. I am a “white man.” That is a fact of birth. One I neither picked nor can change. I am also a proud supporter of civil rights for all. Your attempt to disparage me because of my race just demonstrates, again, that you are uninterested in facts or scholarly nuance or even consistency of values — only activism towards a confused end. This debate is not about me or you (whoever you are as you hide behind the cover of anonymity), however.

        • uomatters says:

          Mr. Boyd, you’ve made excellent comments on this blog, and my guess is that the majority of readers recognize the quality of your arguments. My suggestion is that you do not need to respond to everyone who criticizes you or your arguments, particularly if you feel it will be clear to a reasonable reader that you have made your points with logic and information, while the person responding to you has not.

          • Alec H. Boyd says:

            Thank your for the nice comment. However, because I post using my real name, I would prefer not to risk an “adoptive admission” by letting an accusation of racism stand unrefuted.

            The quality of discussion on this site might be enhanced is you were a bit more pro-active in using your right to moderate to preclude such unproductive comments/insults, as least when directed to non-anonymous posters who might actually be damages by them and consequently chilled from participating.

        • Zaq says:

          This will be my last comment on this matter.

          My argument was not meant to be ad hominem, but I do believe your status as a white male makes your argument particularly patronizing. People of color are uncomfortable with a memorial to a documented racist, albeit a “reformed” racist. Your response to these people is that they are showing a “lack of scholarship”, they are “crude” and that they are “uninterested in facts or scholarly nuance.” Herein lies the problem.

          You, a white male, are dismissing the concerns of minorities because they are uninformed and stupid. But you, as a white male, are well-read and nuanced. This is the primary rhetorical tool of the racist: show that the attitudes of the brown people are invalid, then impose the well-reasoned, white-man solution.

          You yourself may or may not be a racist, and I’m certainly willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. But your argument is undoubtedly patronizing. And like it or not, you are a member of the oppressive class. It is therefore your duty to confront the concerns of the oppressed, rather than dismiss them as unlearned, uppity malcontents.

          One of the greatest intellectual breakthroughs of the 20th century was the discovery of how power and privilege are able to shape institutions and the historical record–a nuanced, scholarly reading of history that you seem unwilling to explore. You accuse me of having a narrow reading of the historical record, but I counter by calling attention to your narrow understanding of the theory of history. The historical record, after all, is written by (and for) white men. It cannot be separated from the institutions that created it.

          Simply proclaiming that you are a “proud supporter of civil rights for all” is not enough to overcome your historical and cultural position of power in these proceedings. So you have a choice: you can continue to dismiss the concerns of the unenlightened negro in favor of the white-male solution, or you can investigate how your own privilege and membership in the oppressive class has shaped your understanding of history and society, and then try to understand the perspectives of the oppressed.

          Even something as simple as using your real name on the internet discussion of race is unimaginable for many people of color–the risks are just too high. You’ll therefore have to forgive my anonymity. I’d rather not receive death threats for expressing my opinion.

          • anon says:

            I agree. I didn’t think you were rude (by the standard fare of this blog), and using your real name is a privilege that not all can share. But, you touched the third rail of suggesting that someone’s perspective may be shaped by their identity, which tends to make people defensive (especially academics).

            I am surprised that anyone here believes that it is not difficult question, at the very least, to determine how to judge the sins of the past.

          • Alec H. Boyd says:

            First, because you choose the path of anonymity I have no idea whether you too are a white male engaging a particularly strange form of hypocrisy and role playing or what. Still, I don’t think it matters. Unlike you, I prefer to judge people based on the content of their character and not the color of their skin, and I judge their positions based on the persuasiveness of their arguments. Your assertion that you might recieie “death threats” for arguing on a relatively obscure blog of interest mainly to UO faculty that Deady Hall should be renamed is hard to take seriously, especially when the originators of the idea have no problem divulging their identities to the faculty Senate (publicized on this blog) apparently with no such repercussions.

            Second, you speak far too broadly when you make the blanket assertions like “people of color are uncomfortable with a memorial to a documented racist.” Some are. But, by making such a statement you presume to speak for large swaths of people, not all of whom share your concerns. [Again, as an example, Yasui accepted his “Earl Warren” award.]

            After all, when looking at prominent figures in American history it is difficult to find leading actors who are untainted by racism. Certainly, most, if not all, of the Founders of this country were so tainted. Yet, many people are able to understand both the good and the bad in people. Again, no person is perfect. Honoring someone like Jefferson for his many beneficial contributions to our country while recognizing his contradictions and failings is exactly the sort of “nuance” which academics should be trying to interject into public discourse. Activists may prefer to avoid nuance. But the UO is an academic institution.

            Third, my criticism that proponents of renaming Deady Hall are not adhering to the best academic standards in their scholarship to support the idea is not a criticism of “people of color.” When you make the assertion that I am “dismissing the concerns of minorities because they are uninformed and stupid” you are engaging in fiction. That position has not been taken in my posts. Unlike you, I am not attacking people based on their race. I am neither “dismissing the concerns of minorities” nor doing so because they are “uninformed and stupid.”

            Instead, I am engaging in a dialogue, on this blog, regarding the idea of re-naming Deady Hall. I am criticizing the accuracy of the narrative I saw in a report presented to the faculty Senate. I am not questioning the ability of minorities to engage in scholarship of the highest caliber. I am instead demanding that a University live up to the standards set by such scholars and examine an issue such as renaming the oldest and most historic building on campus with scholarship that meets the rigors of the academic environment.

            [I also take issue with your assertion that “the primary rhetorical tool of the racist: [is to] show that the attitudes of the brown people are invalid, then impose the well-reasoned, white-man solution.” My studies in obtaining my degree, which included majors in Rhetoric & Communication and Political Science, and my life experiences lead me to a different conclusion as to the main rhetorical tactics of racists and bigots, which I view as much more blunt, but that is not relevant here.]

            Fourth, I am unconvinced by your very general invocation of critical race theory. Contrary to your assertion, I am very familiar with CLS, CRT, deconstruction, realism, and other lenses for analyzing legal history. Your base assumption that CRT is the only valid lens is one with which I disagree. Especially where, as here, the issue is the examination of the life history of an individual where numerous primary source documents exist. My primary point is that it is important for an academic institution to present the “story” of Matthew Deady accurately. You appear to be countering that his story is only of interest if it can be manipulated to support an attack upon institutions. That may jibe with your personal politics, but I find it a very unconvincing basis for University policy.

            Finally, you present a false dichotomy in the nature of the classic question “when did you stop beating your wife?” Is that really the standard for discourse you think appropriate? Your rhetoric is not designed to enlighten anyone as to the history of Matthew Deady. You’ve brought not a single fact or source into this conversation that offers any insight into Deady. Instead, you appear to be attempting to shut down discourse of Matthew Deady by taking the position that anyone who disagrees with you that Deady Hall should be renamed is a racist promoting a “white male solution.” That is clearly a gross and inaccurate generalization that really should not be deployed in a civil conversation.

            Judging a person such as Matthew Deady is a difficult question, and there is no place for blanket accusations of racism designed to shut down conversation in a reasoned discourse about that topic.

          • doh says:


            I just read the scholarly history that UOM supplied here:

            Interestingly, Mooney, far from protecting white power, seems to lay bare Oregon’s history often obfuscated by well meaning yet short sighted whitewashing. I believe that a decade or so ago the Oregon legislature whitewashed from the law all references to the repealed laws that feature in Mooney’s work. Mooney also reminds us of the repugnant sentiment, thoughts, and deeds of the antebellum period in the west when Oregon was becoming a state.

            To this reader, it seems that cheap labor and indentured servitude rather than institutional betrayal are the keys to real power, which even today continues; where corporations and modern day robber barons still use cheap labor to acquire wealth while deflecting any recrimination onto the laborers. Indeed exchange Chinese for Hispanic and coolies for illegals and we find that not much in this sick game has changed in a century and a half. And on a global scale the Asians are still the monster lurking under the bed, while the responsibility and sins of the multi-national corporations and people who run them are completely and utterly missing.

            I and anyone who cares to read UOM and the accompanying supporting material are now more informed, because of the name of a building. Is this worth the name? Perhaps not.

            In a more thorough reading I do not see where Deady’s used his institutional power to ‘subjugate’, but rather Oregon (by a vote of the majority) chose to exclude, and this is more repugnant, more damming of society, and very different than the sins of a single man. Of course as stated in the work, the wealthy business interests still wanted to keep the cheap labor of the Chinese while excluding blacks. The larger discussion is more informative and a more useful history than ‘Deady used his position of power to actively subjugate people of color…Deady’s power was illegitimately gained’, therefore we must strip his name from the building.

            All that said I prefer buildings to not have the names of people or corporations scrawled above the entrance on an inappropriate billboard scale illuminated by neon and a disco ball. ‘The Old Building’ would do just fine… but then I would never have heard of Deady and got the chance to delve into Oregon’s disgusting history.

          • Alec H. Boyd says:

            Yet another correction: The word I intended to use above is “jibe” not “jive.” Mis-keyed “v” instead of the adjacent “b.” You could really use an “edit” function for posts on this board.

      • Alec H. Boyd says:

        One correction: I meant “people of color” not “people of power.”

        One other point: I would be all for naming a building or something else after Yasui. In my mind, it would be most appropriate in connection with the law school, since Yasui was the first Asian graduate of the UO law school and it was in the legal realm where he fought his fight, but obviously other options might be more practical or proper. So, you miss the mark, again, when you make a “shot in the dark” to incorrectly assert that I oppose honoring minorities.

  23. New Year Cat says:

    MUST we name buildings after people? When I attended UO many, many years ago, that complex basically known now as the Lillis complex was called Commonwealth. It is a great name. I’ve never forgive the university for cheapening itself by removing that wonderful, symbolic name and replacing it with Gilbert and later Lillis.

  24. Joker says:

    We should start auctioning naming rights to all campus buildlings on a 100-year cycle. Any building named before 1915 is overdue. This way, we get to retire the old fogeys, whether rascals, or heroes, or both, at the same time that we need desperately to raise quick cash from mega-donors. Instead of Deady, Villard, and Collier, how about Ballmer, ???, and ??? Even better, Johnson Hall is up in 2018.

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      Of course, Knight, Ballmer, etc etc may realize that the same thing will happen to their names down the line, and decide to keep their hands in their pockets.

      • So it shall be written says:

        They are putting special clauses in their naming contracts, so it won’t matter how awful they are in their personal lives.

    • OA Anon says:

      Or better yet, renewable 5-year naming rights agreements.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Straw man *and* slippery slope fallacy. Well done, hUB.

    We are a state university. Our state once had enshrined into law that an entire race of human beings couldn’t live here. Deady made that happen. I think it’s reasonable to say, hey, let’s not give his name a place of prominence and honor any more. Because I’m more concerned about throwing *that* history down the memory hole.

  26. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Well, we can put everything and everyone associated with things we don’t like down the memory hole. We can get rid of Judge Deady, and while we’re at it, remove the name of Lane. And then there are Washington, and Jefferson, and of course Th. Roosevelt. And Lincoln, who by the standards of our time had rather obnoxious views on race, at least most of his life. And we can find plenty not to like about FDR (I mean things like his attitudes toward Japanese and Jews). And on and on.

    Let’s put everything down the memory hole. And look forward to the future time when we in turn are completely forgotten, because of things we take for granted as acceptable that future humans will find repugnant. I don’t know what these might turn out to be — species extinction? Eating animals? Abortion? — but I am completely sure that there will be something.

    • Zaq says:

      This is a straw man. No one is asking to put them down the memory hole, just that we don’t build monuments to their names. We can remember repugnant people without glorifying them.

      • Anonymous says:

        No one’s proposing to throw anything down a memory hole. In fact, it would be great if every student learned about Deady. But instead of through the building name, through a history class. There’s plenty to cover:

      • angry old lady says:

        Maybe there should be fighting for your future instead of bitching about a building that is named after a long dead bonehead. How about going toe to toe with the repugnant thugs in Johnson hall….what they are doing to the students today will deny all of you any kind of future without strife and debt just to feed their greed. I think writing bills that require public vote that puts a stop on their greed and puts a stop on their continual raises, stipends, backdoor deals, shady handshake deals, and everything else that feeds them. Bitching about a dead bone head…isn’t all that important when your talking about YOUR future. and who is sucking the life and future out of all of you at this very moment.

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