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

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

  1. Fishwrapper says:

    The link to the report gives “Page not found” error. Same thing from Schill’s actual site. So where’s the report?

  2. Hubris says:

    UOM, you wrote that the report is: “thorough, unbiased, blunt, and very interesting.” Yes to most of that (and yay for the report) but “unbiased”? There is no such thing in historical analysis or reporting — or for that matter in most if not all scholarship and science. Be a little humble here — at best we try to be objective (and as part of that we try to acknowledge our biases), but claim that any particular historical report or analysis is “unbiased”? How biased.

    • uomatters says:

      Point taken, thanks.

    • Dog says:

      I would really like to go on and on here, but no one gives a shit.

      Succinctly

      1. Agree completely with hubris on the point about bias. 100% correct. If lucky, we at least acknowledge them

      2., The real issue is “content of character” and this is very difficult. History can reveal and assemble facts and pubic efforts. However, the motivation and intent of one, I believe, is that which reveals true character. Nine times out of 10, one’s motivation is usually usurped and corrupted by others, so that in the historical analysis, you yourself are corrupt.

      As Conan (the Barbarian) says in his message to the god Krom:

      “No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many”

      That’s intent.

      I know nothing about the citizen in China that held a rose against tanks in Tieneman square in 1989 – all I know is that he was the only one that did it.

      That’s intent.

      When pronouncing judgement on anyone, one must be very careful to separate out intent (good or bad) from outcome. But we do not do this, because, as I started out – we don’t give a shit.

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