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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.


  1. Anonymous 08/23/2016

    What does the Black Student Task Force have planned if the buildings are not re-named?

    • Cheyney Ryan 08/23/2016

      I suggest you ask them, but I assume that, if there is a response, it will be a sensible one, like the issues they have raised for all of us. I base this on my experience with two of the Task Force’s members, both of whom were chosen by Oxford University to participate in the prestigious human rights workshop for US students it conducts every March. One of them has now been asked by Oxford to play a leadership role in organizing this coming year’s events. Their commitment to human rights generally is serious and thoughtful, and deserves our deepest respect.

      • Alec H. Boyd 08/24/2016

        Many people have suggested renaming Deady Hall for Yasui. Yasui certainly is a figure that the UO would do well to honor as the first Asian graduate of UO law school, and as a fighter for the rights of Japanese-Americans against the internment. He deserves that honor whether or not Deady Hall is renamed.

        One irony of this situation is that if Deady had been Yasui’s judge, based on his decisions, it appears clear to me that he would likely have ruled in favor of Yasui and against the internment and anti-Japanese exclusion laws. It is also ironic that Earl Warren, a promoter of internment, escapes the kind of attack we see on Deady because of his subsequent redemption in promoting civil rights through decisions like Brown v. Board of Education, but Deady is attacked for his ineffective political speech in 1857 (resulting in no harm compared to Warren deeply harmful actions) while his subsequent legal decisions protecting minorities are discounted.

        I do not doubt the student task force’s commitment to human rights. They are passionate about their cause. But, I do question the scholarship on Deady that has been floated to support their position. It was one-sided to an extreme, and I applaud the President for creating the historians panel. The historians’ report reveals the major deficiencies in the prior position papers floated by the student task force.

  2. Inquiring Mind 08/23/2016

    I just wonder about that slippery slope. I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to wonder if there is or should be a parallel process under way to consider racism against Native Americans, latinos, and asians? Also anti-semitism? I am just slightly bothered that one group’s concerns are elevated above others without a broader scan. Although I recognize the black student groups were the ones who organized and got this issue rolling and commend their focus.

    FWIW, I can see changing Dunn since it is so overtly and clearly tied to revolting KKK activity. Deady to me seems more of a reflection of the time and his view of his role as a judge.

  3. Sanjay Srivastava 08/23/2016

    This is the comment that I submitted through the official feedback form:

    Both buildings should be re-named. I find myself very much in agreement with the reasoning that Matthew Dennis stated in his August 21 Register-Guard editorial. Building names are not neutral markers; they are a way to put a name in a place of prominence and honor the namesake. The idea that we need to keep their names on the buildings as “reminders” simply does not stand up to scrutiny. We have a history department to teach us about history. We name buildings for other reasons.

    Dunn Hall seems like the obvious case, being named after a former Exalted Cyclops of the KKK. I fear that in doing one obviously right thing, the university will feel morally licensed to “split the difference” and keep Deady. That would be a mistake.

    At the founding of our state, Deady actively promoted the exclusion of Black citizens from Oregon. The defense of Deady seems to rest primarily on his later stance toward Chinese immigrants and descendants. The implication is that that somehow erases his lifelong anti-Black racism, as if racism and racial atonement against different groups are fungible. This strikes me as a distinctly White perspective, viewing non-White groups as interchangeable. Will we look in the face of a community that has been harmed, proclaim “But he was decent to those other people!” and expect them to accept that as amends?

    The fact is that Deady never made amends for his anti-Black racism, he never disavowed it, and his actions are still reverberating today in a state whose population includes about 2% African Americans. My department (Psychology) has never had an African American tenure-track professor, and I have been told that the same is true across the entire Division of Natural Sciences. While the reasons are surely complex, I will note that when my department has tried to recruit African American faculty, the underrepresentation of African Americans in our community has come up as a challenge in enticing people to move here and make Oregon their home. That underrepresentation is the direct legacy of Matthew Deady’s political activism. This is not a man that the university should be honoring.

    • Alec H. Boyd 08/24/2016


      There are two problems with your position that I think stem from deficiencies in the historians report.

      First, black exclusion laws were enacted by the territorial government before Deady ever set foot in Oregon. In 1857, 90% of Oregon residents essentially voted to continue past exclusions when Oregon became a State. Deady was not a driving force or cause of this black exclusion. The political will pre-dated and was independent of his actions.

      The more valid criticism of Deady is that in 1857 he advocated, in line with Democratic Party policy and the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court, the extension of slavery into Oregon. That advocacy accomplished was voted down, slavery was not extended into Oregon, and Deady himself never owned slaves. So his sin is one of publicly advocating a losing position which was, at the time, in line with with U.S. law.

      Second, you argue Deady never made amends for his anti-black racism. But, this is arguably false. In 1860, Deady abandoned the pro-slavery Democratic Party and joined the Republican Party (the Party of Lincoln). From that point onward, his life is marked by a series of actions which promoted the civil liberties of minorities. The actions included:

      * During the Civil War, in his revision of Oregon’s Code of Civil Procedure, extending to blacks the legal right to give testimony in legal proceedings, a right they did not previously possess;

      * Repeatedly issuing significant civil rights rulings which applied the provisions of the Civil War Amendments in the fashion they were intended, to promote minority civil rights. While these rulings involved Chinese, it is notable that Deady’s opinions were the opposite of the rulings which led to the promotion of Jim Crow in the South.

      * And on a personal level, Deady acted to promote the careers of minorities and women. He employed black men as his bailiffs, an action inconsistent with the notion that he continued to support slavery or black exclusion from Oregon, and also acted to ensure women could be admitted to the Oregon Bar.

      There are more examples.

      Ultimately, I believe that the fair conclusion is that Deady was a man of his time who had a high regard for the rule of law. This regard for the rule of law caused him, although he was never a slaveholder, to defend the right of slave owners to maintain their property rights should they move to Oregon consistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent. This may have also been a politically calculated position that reflected loyalty to the Democratic Party structure in Oregon.

      However, once he was appointed to a Judge to the U.S. District Court, a lifetime appointment which severed any future need for political patronage, Deady then acted in a fashion which today we would call enlightened and which promoted minority rights. While he never issued a “public apology” for his actions in 1857, his actions from 1860 onward, including in connection with the formation of the UO and its policies, were a repudiation and atonement for his (unsuccessful) public speech in 1857.

      In short, I conclude that Deady’s unsuccessful public speech in 1857 should not outweigh his actual actions during his very long public career. Deady is honored for his service to the University, service no one disputes was significant, and there is no reason to strip him of that honor based on campaign rhetoric in 1857 when his actions in the following decades of his life make him arguably the greatest promoter of civil rights on the West Coast of the later 1800s.

      In fact, it is incredibly ironic that folks want to replace Deady’s name with that of Masui. If Deady had been Masui’s judge, Masui would likely never have been thrown in jail after Pearl Harbor.

      Finally, in the rhetorical debates over race we should all keep in mind two important points: (1) Without recognition of context and atonement there can never be understanding and forgiveness. And we as a country can only move forward by moving together, which will never happen without forgiveness and understanding. (2) A University’s job is to prepare students for the real world, not shelter them from it. The notion that a University should strive to avoid offending anyone is a philosophy with which we should not agree. The debate over Deady Hall has been of great benefit to the University community. The way to continue that educational process is to maintain Deady’s name, while recognizing his role in the history of 1857 and beyond, by placement of historical displays or markers which provide accurate context. Renaming Deady will serve only to end the discussion of this history, a tragic result given that Deady’s life has much to teach us.

      • Sanjay Srivastava 08/24/2016


        You attribute Deady’s political activities to a regard for the rule of law, but then credit him for making amends through his application the Reconstruction amendments during his judicial career. This strikes me as backwards. As a politician he had an opportunity to shape the law; as a judge it was his job to enforce it.

        In line with that, the report gives clues about the mindset that animated his judicial activities. On page 9 it observes: “Of signal importance to understanding Deady’s judicial decisions about race from the 1860s to his death was his understanding of and allegiance to the rule of law.” Place next to that the views he expressed in his diary: As late as 1890, he was still expressing sympathy for the institution of slavery. To me, this does not add up to a case that he pursued redemption for his anti-Black racism.

        • Alec H. Boyd 08/24/2016


          The report is in error on the points you quote. Here is part of my submission to President Schill which addresses the language you recite:

          While the Report correctly notes that “in the aftermath of the Civil War, Deady wholeheartedly supported the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution, providing for the emancipation of slaves, full civil rights to freedmen, and the right to vote to African American men,” the Report under emphasizes that Deady’s judicial decisions applying the Civil War amendments stand in stark contrast to the rulings of his contemporaries on the federal bench, who were refusing to use those amendments as they were intended. Instead of applying the Civil War amendments to enforce civil rights, as Deady did, his contemporaries on the federal bench issued numerous rulings that led to the establishment of Jim Crow. Deady’s pro-civil rights rulings are remarkable when viewed in their proper context of the nation’s judicial history. The Report gives this context short shrift.

          The Report also fails to analyze the significance of that, through his re-writing of the Oregon Code during the Civil War, Deady extended to black Americans the right to testify in courts of law, a right that they did not previously possess.

          Instead, the Report places more emphasis on Deady’s private thoughts than his public actions. Most tragically, the Report misinterprets his private thoughts to reach the incorrect conclusion that: “The Diary is clear on one point: Matthew Deady, while unalterably opposed to Southern secession and the post-Civil War Democratic Party (even as he remained friends with prominent Oregon Democrats), never accepted the view that slavery was wrong.” This conclusion is not supportable.

          The Report’s main evidence for this conclusion is a November 1, 1884, entry in which Deady wrote in his private diary that: “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.”

          Far from constituting a defense of slavery, a regret regarding the end of slavery, or a call for the return of slavery, the November 1, 1884 diary entry is instead a defense of former slaveholders from a charge of criminal conduct by a successive generation. Deady’s point here is relevant to the present controversy. Deady, for whom the rule of law was paramount, believed it unfair for former slaveholders, or those who recognized that slave holding was then Constitutional, to be accused of unlawful behavior when their conduct was lawful and in accord with the Constitution when it occurred. Deady’s comment is not a defense of slavery, but a defense of former slave holders who he thought were being judged unfairly because the legal context of their times was being ignored.

          Similarly, the Report also errs in citing Deady’s February 2, 1890, entry as evidencing support of slavery. In that entry, Deady agrees with a Unitarian minister who had recently presented a lecture on the race problem in the United States. Deady wrote: “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.”

          Far from constituting a defense of slavery, a regret at the end of slavery, or a call for resumption of slavery, Deady’s comment lauds the current state of “self-dependence” of black Americans. While he subscribes to the view that black Americans would not have achieved “self-dependence” in this country absent slavery, he calls slavery a “means providential OR OTHERWISE,” a statement that is inconsistent with the conclusion that Deady viewed slavery with an uncritical and favorable eye. His is a statement of how he saw the practical reality and history of our country, not a philosophical or other defense of slavery as an institution.

          Of course, Deady’s own personal action in hiring black Americans to serve as his bailiffs is also inconsistent with the conclusion that Deady continued to harbor support for black exclusion from the State of Oregon or slavery.

          • A. Lincoln 08/24/2016

            Regarding Judge Deady’s diary entry that “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.”

            I must confess that I once said some things that some might interpret as also suggesting that slavery might have had a “providential” origin. My statement:

            It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.”

            If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?

            Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

            I can only hope that this potentially offensive language will be interpreted in the context of my entire life’s work.

      • Thom Aquinas 08/25/2016

        In this process, I think a very clear statement could be made by the University particularly if a) Deady Hall is NOT renamed, but Dunn Hall is. As Alec pointed out above, Deady has “evolved” on the issue during his lifetime, undoubtedly as a result of education on the matter of slavery and human rights. To leave Deady Hall as is, the UO could make a statement that education elevates everyone to a better place, even if at first they erred (and gravely so). Education, learning as a vector for positive change is a powerful message the UO could spread by maintaining Deady Hall’s name.
        In case of Dunn – I think it’s clear cut. The building should be renamed ASAP!

  4. Texas Guy 08/23/2016

    The student is right, rename them both.

  5. Daffy duck 08/23/2016

    I read the excellent report by the three historians and came away with two conclusions. There is little in the record redemptive for Dunn, and the record for Deady is truly complex, one on which readers can easily have differing opinions, but I find several of the arguments above well below the standard of logic and evidence of the report itself. Quintard Taylor, by the way, was one of the first Knight Professors in CAS. He has been missed on campus since he departed for UW.

    • uomatters Post author | 08/23/2016

      Give us some specifics, please.

      • Daffy duck 08/24/2016

        one example. Laying the origin of oregons low percentage of African Americans to deady is at best an exaggeration. New Mexico has roughly the same percentage, for example. The evolution of African American populations in western states is due to a complexity of factors. for those interested in details, Quintatd Taylor’s In Search of the Racial Frontier is an excellent source. it was published while he was at UO. the report and President Schills criteria can serve us well if we focus on them without cherry picking arguments on one side or the other or exaggerating extraneous elements.

  6. Gene O'Grady 08/23/2016

    Did Dunn ever do anything except the KKK work? He does not have an entry in the standard Biographical Dictionary of American Classical Scholars, and looking over the books from his collection in the UofO library there don’t seem to be any from the leading classicists of the time but a lot of stuff that is basically upper level high school Latin texts. Which (unfortunately) is what a lot of college Latin and some Greek teaching came to in the era of language requirements. Whether the UofO ever required Latin I don’t know.

    But I can beat the Dunn bookplates — when I worked in the library at Stanford there were a fair number of (usually pretty high level) classics books with a bookplace with a swastika and the caption Gabe des deutschen Reiches.

    • Mary Jaeger 08/24/2016

      Willamette University includes Dunn together with a list of his publications on its faculty pages ( There’s not a lot: mostly short pieces in regional journals and one two-pager in TAPhA (publication of the national society). So at first glance he does not appear distinguished as a scholar. But I have not read these articles.

      It is also interesting that the Willamette page says that after he moved to Eugene he joined both the Masons and the Sons of the American Revolution but never mentions his activity in the KKK.

  7. honest Uncle Bernie 08/24/2016

    I await the sending of the entire pantheon of American heroes down the memory hole. Those monuments to those awful dead white males in Washington DC need to be renamed. We can just forget our entire history. A thorough whitewash will make us all feel smug and superior.

    If I were a major donor, I would think a lot before giving money for a named building for UO.

    And by the way, I’m descended from people who were persecuted by the KKK, very much so in Oregon. I very much oppose this effort to erase and forget our history.

    • just different 08/24/2016

      There’s a world of difference between “whitewashing history” and acknowledging that it is disrespectful–if not outright hostile–to openly honor someone whose deeds, words, and beliefs are repellent to many. The honorable and ethical institutional decision is to be on the right side of social progress and make do without those donors whose nostalgia for the Confederate flag, Chief Illiniwek, etc., is so strong that they base their support on it.

      • honest Uncle Bernie 08/25/2016

        Right, I want to keep the old names to honor the KKK persecutors of my ancestors, thanks for understanding and representing my motives so well. I hope it makes you feel wonderful, we need more benefactors of humanity to light our way.

  8. cheyney ryan 08/24/2016

    Sanjay is certainly correct in his judgment that Deady can at most be commended for abiding by the law when he became a federal judge, hardly a cause for massive celebration. It must have been difficult for him–given that he clearly disagreed with amendments abolishing slavery and its effects. The historians report that Deady “never accepted the view that slavery was wrong. In a November 1, 1884, entry he condemns those who opposed slavery, declaring that “Fifty years will have to roll by before the popular mind recovers its equilibrium on this [slavery] question.” In one of his last diary entries, he described slavery as “the means providential or otherwise by which the negro was educated and prepared for his present career of self-dependence.”

    Anyone who thinks he is to be commended for his enlightened attitudes to other minorities should read the historians report’s discussion of the case, In Re Camille.

    • Alec H. Boyd 08/24/2016

      Professor Ryan,

      As Prof. Mooney has explained in his legal histories of Deady, he absolutely should be lauded for his post-Civil War Amendment rulings. Most of Judge Deady’s colleagues on the federal bench were not applying those Amendments to support civil rights (except for corporations), they instead were ruling in a fashion which enabled Jim Crow.

      Judge Deady’s rulings are remarkable for his time. You would be hard pressed to find anyone more judicially active in promoting civil rights in his time period than Judge Deady. His decisions and actions on Chinese rights stand in stark contrast to what was transpiring elsewhere on the West Coast.

      Please see my analysis of those diary entries above. The Report did a great disservice to Deady in its characterization of those private musings. He never wrote in his diary that he disagreed with abolishing slavery. To the contrary, he lauded black Americans “self dependence” and never once lamented the demise of slavery.

    • Alec H. Boyd 08/24/2016

      Professor Ryan,

      I seem to recall you may have a JD. Have you read In re Camille, as opposed to the historian’s Report’s summation of the case?

      I come at that case from the perspective of an attorney. And to the eyes of this attorney, that case is an example of the application of stare decisis to a question that we now find quite abhorrent: What constitutes a “white person” within the meaning of a statute which limits the right to obtain citizenship to only “white persons” who have resided in the U.S. for the three years.

      That case does not address the Civil War amendments. It concerns a Canadian citizen who of French/Indian ethnicity. Deady’s conclusion is a classic example of stare decisis and respect for the legislature:

      >>>Upon these authorities, and none other have come under my observation, the petitioner is not entitled to be considered a white man. … The power to say when and under what circumstances aliens may become American citizens belongs to congress. Citizenship is a privilege which no one has a right to demand; and in construing the acts of congress upon the subject of naturalization, the courts ought not to go beyond what is plainly written.<<<

      It was not out of step with the jurisprudence of its day (1880). In fact, the result was dictated by both existing precedent and the language of the relevant statute under consideration. That is why decisions both before In re Camille and decades afterward reached the same conclusion.

      • Alec H. Boyd 08/24/2016

        Prof. Ryan,

        I just checked your bio to see if you had a JD. I saw you taught at UO law school. Please understand that I was not being sarcastic or disrespectful by my comment. I attended UO in the 80s, and my vague recollection is that you were Philosophy professor and, I even more vaguely recollect, a pretty good cabaret performer. I don’t recall you teaching law (maybe that came after I graduated UO), but thought you may have attended law school.

  9. just different 08/24/2016

    How come no one from the Math Department, the sole occupant of Deady Hall, has publicly weighed in on this? Or have they?

    • honest Uncle Bernie 08/25/2016

      Oh, I can’t imagine why they might want to keep quiet, it’s simply beyond comprehension.

  10. M 08/24/2016

    From the article:

    “We rename buildings frequently, and it’s often for a less noble cause. One example is Anstett Hall in Lillis Business complex, which changed from Gilbert Hall in 2011 because of a donation, according to the UO website.”

    To everyone that is against renaming these buildings: Why don’t your arguments apply to this situation as well? And if they do, why are you not arguing in favor of changing the name back to Gilbert? Or what about Grayson hall?

    I can’t shake the impression that we have no problem changing the names of buildings as long as the impetus begins with rich, white people, yet we need public debate and special task forces to “investigate” when the idea originates with black people. How my analysis wrong here? What’s the difference?

    • Alec H. Boyd 08/25/2016

      I am an alumni. I did not oppose the renaming of Gilbert Hall because I had no idea Gilbert Hall was being renamed. Even if I had known, my position on the renaming of Gilbert Hall would have depended on who Gilbert was (I don’t know) and why the building was being renamed.

      Deady Hall, in contrast, first came to my attention because of the article on this site about the historical marker proposal (which I support). The renaming of Deady Hall matters to me because (1) it is one of the two oldest buildings on campus, (2) Deady was a significant figure in University, Oregon and legal history, and (3) I think the reason for name change is incorrect and misguided.

      Your “analysis” is misguided because you are implying that those who favor maintaining Deady Hall’s present name are necessarily racists. To understand how foolish this assertion is, I suggest you look at this article about Prof. Ed Coleman:

      • M 08/25/2016

        I definitely don’t think that anyone who opposes renaming a building is racist; that’s an obvious non-sequitur. But as you say, we are all aware that there is a proposal in place to change the name of Deady Hall, but we were all unaware that there was a similar proposal with Gilbert Hall just a few years ago. Why is this the case? What’s different this time? It’s race, right? What else could it be?

        My point is that the only reason anyone is even aware of this issue is because of the race of the people involved in making the complaint. I just can’t see any other explanation as to why Gilbert and Grayson (and the dozen or so new buildings that have been constructed in the last few years) should receive new or changed names without any of this to-do.

        Again, I think it’s perfectly reasonable (and not at all racist) to oppose the name change. But I do find it odd that there seems to be no consistency in this position. It’s strange to me that you would object to the renaming of Deady Hall based on history, but be ambivalent about the renaming of other buildings due to money or white collar crime. If BLM donated millions of dollars, would it then be acceptable to you to change the name? What if it had been discovered that Deady had defrauded investors out of millions of dollars? Would it then be acceptable to change the name?

        I just don’t get it. Why do you care so much about this specific building, in particular?(Note: My lack of understanding applies to BLM as well — why does *anyone* care so much about the stupid name?)

        • Zaq 08/25/2016

          Deady Hall is litarally a monument built to honor a man whose actions directly disenfranchised people of color. You really don’t understand why some people might have a problem with that?

          Let’s just go all the way and put a Confederate flag on top of the building, too. It’s just a piece of fabric, after all. And we can use it to teach students about slavery, or something. We’ll put a historical marker next to it if anyone complains.

          • BC 08/27/2016

            Deady Hall is not “litarally [sic] a monument built to honor a man whose actions directly disenfranchised people of color.” It was named Deady Hall 17 years after construction was completed.

    • New Year Cat 08/25/2016

      At least one hall in the complex that is now Lillis was Commonwealth Hall. I don’t recall anyone asking for the opinion of alumni but I would have strongly opposed the renaming to Gilbert, Lillis, or anything else. Commonwealth is what we should aspire to. Wealth is what brought about the renaming IMO.

  11. Daffy duck 08/24/2016

    I did strongly oppose the removal of Gilbert’s name, precisely because it buried the history of the origins of the business school and his long service as a CAS Dean. Of course money talks. If someone gave millions for much needed renovations and expansions of deadly, The odds of deadys name being on a plaque on the cement out front instead of on the building, as happened to Gilbert’s name, would be pretty high. In both cases history goes down the memory hole.

    • M 08/25/2016

      I will grant that there is an argument to be made against renaming buildings for *any* reason. But let’s consider a counterfactual: If Black Lives Matter were to raise millions of dollars and pay for renovations of Deady Hall in exchange for a name change, am I to believe that the process would go as smoothly as the renaming Gilbert Hall? Somehow I doubt it.

      “Money talks,” undoubtedly. But the disproportionate outrage is hard to explain based on that alone. Why do we only grumble quietly when uncle Phil decides to rename a building, yet need this whole hullabaloo when some black students want the same thing? To be clear, I believe you when you say that your objection was the same. But you can’t argue that this is the case at the community level. I’m willing to bet that the comments on this thread alone exceed the amount of ink spilled on the entirety of the Gilbert affair. I can’t find even a news story on google devoted to Gilbert.

      And what about Grayson Hall? Though it was before my time at UO, those circumstances seem much more similar to the current situation. It’s perhaps a bit reductive, but the only real difference between Grayson and Deady is that Grayson’s victims happened to be rich and white. Did we need a “campus conversation” and committees of historians to resolve that dispute? (I’m asking sincerely, it was before my time here).

      But more importantly: It’s just a building name, for God’s sake. We’re not talking about book burning, here. What’s the big deal? Is Prince Lucien Campbell’s “historical record” (whatever that even means) impacted in any way by having his name attached to a shitty building? We could rename “Knight Library” to “The Mickey Mouse Sex Emporium,” and the historical record would remain unchanged for both Knight and Walt Disney. I just really can’t see any non-racist reason to be against this. Who cares?

      • Oryx 08/25/2016

        “I believe you when you say that your objection [to renaming Gilbert Hall] was the same” and “I just really can’t see any non-racist reason to be against this” don’t really go together.

        • M 08/25/2016

          My wording was clumsy. I meant that I can’t see any non-racist reason to be against this *and only this specific* renaming. The lack of consistency is what’s troubling. Why is this one in particular such a big deal?

          • Alec H. Boyd 08/26/2016

            You can lead a horse to water … Look, you have now had several non-racists reasons for opposing renaming Deady Hall, yet continue to accuse those oppose renaming Deady Hall as being racists.

            So onsider this:

            Prof. Ed Coleman, who was a victim of racism growing up under Jim Crow, and a participant in the civil rights struggles of the 50s and 60s, opposes renaming Deady Hall. You can read his reasons in the RG. Scott Bartlett, a liberal activist in Eugene who was one the folks who spearheaded the renaming of a street to honor MLK, opposes renaming Deady Hall. You can read his reasons in the RG.

            They are not racist reasons. Yet you call them racists.

            I think it is because you hide behind the shield of anonymity. Proving again the disservice UO Matters does by allowing anonymous posting and promoting irresponsible flame throwing.

            Far far better to make posters take responsibility for their posting and engage in polite discourse.

      • Alec H. Boyd 08/25/2016


        I’ve said before, and I will repeat, that anonymity on this site does everyone a great disservice. Most notably, it apparently frees some people to make insulting comments they would not make if posting under their own name because they can make those comments without fear of consequences. Frankly, anonymity encourages a lot of shoddy thinking and encourages a race to the bottom in the quality of discourse. UOMatters would be wise to abandon anonymity. Your post is an example of why it should.

        Whether you realize it or not, by saying that you “can’t see any non-racist reason to be against this” you are painting those of us who oppose renaming Deady Hall as racists. While you may feel free to make that type of accusation because you post anonymously, the victims of your accusation include folks who are willing to stand behind their support of Deady Hall, such as Prof. Mooney, Prof. Coleman, and Scott Bartlett (and myself) who do not deserve to be called racists.

        And if you actually took the time to read Prof. Mooney, Prof. Coleman, and Mr. Bartlett’s OpEds on the subject of Deady Hall, or even my comments on this site, you would see that there are a great many non-racist reasons to support keeping Deady Hall as is. In fact, one core argument for keeping the name Deady Hall is the argument that it will aid the process of educating people about the history of racism, provide an example of an individual who evolved away from racist actions to promoting minority rights, and thereby promote progress and reconciliation.

        • M 08/25/2016

          “And if you actually took the time to read Prof. Mooney, Prof. Coleman, and Mr. Bartlett’s OpEds on the subject of Deady Hall, or even my comments on this site, you would see that there are a great many non-racist reasons to support keeping Deady Hall as is.”

          If it’s not race, then what is it? Why don’t those non-racist reasons apply to every other time we name or rename buildings? I believe in revealed preference — did you, Mooney, Bartlett, and Coleman write OpEd’s defending Grayson’s historical record? I’m assuming the answer is no (I might be wrong). So why not?

          If I had to guess, I’d say that you all were simply unaware of the Grayson dispute. But doesn’t that just raise more questions? What’s different this time? Why are you aware of it all the sudden?

          To be clear, I don’t think you (or any of the others) are personally racist. But my reading of the situation is that systemic racism is the only reason we’re talking about this in the first place. I don’t see any other explanation.

          And I actually agree with everything you’re saying about Deady — I think it’s dumb that BLM wants to change the name. I’m just trying to figure out why everyone cares so much. It’s just a building name.

          • Alec H. Boyd 08/26/2016

            There is no analogy between the Grayson Hall situation and the Deady Hall situation.

            Grayson Hall was renamed from the “Law Center” to “Grayson Hall” in 1999 because Jeff Grayson promised to contribute $1.5 million of the $4.25 million cost for the renovation of the building. There obviously was no controversy about renaming “Law Center” to “Grayson Hall” because “Law Center” had no import to anyone.

            Before the full $1.5 million was contributed by Grayson, it was revealed that Grayson had robbed several hundred million dollars from customers of his securities firm. In fact, UO was advised in 2001, just two years after the renaming of the building, that the $850,000 payment that actually was made by Grayson towards his $1.5 million pledge was voidable because those funds constituted stolen money. The UO repaid that $850,000.

            Grayson Hall was then renamed McKenzie Hall in 2002. Again, this renaming was not controversial because Grayson (1) had failed to fulfill the terms of the agreement which led to the original naming of the building and (2) was otherwise entirely unworthy of the honor.

            In stark contrast, Deady Hall was dedicated in 1893 because Deady was instrumental to UO in its formative years and to honor him for his role as Oregon’s first federal judge. Those are both circumstances that made him worthy of the honor. It was not a purchased honor. And the 1893 decision to name Deady Hall after Deady had nothing to do with race.

            If you truly cannot discern the difference between the present controversy over renaming Deady Hall and the renaming of Grayson Hall in 2002, and want to continue to accuse folks like Prof. Mooney, Prof. Coleman, and Mr. Bartlett of racism, there’s not much any of us can do to help you.

          • M 08/26/2016

            Let me get this straight, Mr. Boyd. In your opinion, renaming a building is perfectly valid if:

            1. Someone contributes $1.25 million to the renovation of said building.

            2. The person whose name is currently on the building commits white collar crime.

            Reasons that are NOT acceptable to rename a building are:

            1. A long, documented history of racist acts.

            Ok, so let me re-ask my original hypothetical: If BLM were to raise $1.25 million dollars to renovate Deady hall, would it then be acceptable to you if they were to change the name? What if, instead, Phil Knight gave the money?

            My original point is that the Deady-renaming opposition appears to be using ex post justifications rather than applying a set of principles that apply — and will continue to apply — to all building names. Deady’s “historical record” (I still don’t know what that means) is only relevant if we first establish that the historical record is a criteria used in building names. But we clearly don’t care about the “historical records” of Knight, Lillis, Jaqua, Grayson, etc. So I think the burden is on you to show *why* the historical record matters in this case but not in the case of other buildings, or at least be explicit on the situations in which the historical record does apply.

            All I am saying is that the opposition to the renaming sounds ad hoc. The racial overtones only become audible *after* the ad hoc nature of the justifications is established. Ad hoc justification is a necessary (but not sufficient!) condition for the existence of racism in my estimation. What I want to hear from you (and others) is the non-ad-hoc justification, but all I am getting is a Gertrudian defense of your attitudes toward minorities, which is a second-order issue.

          • Alec H. Boyd 08/26/2016


            This is my last attempt. I really think you are abusing your anonymity and using abusive rhetorical tactics.

            First, your attempt to put words in my mouth is not well-taken. To be clear: No. I am not contending, as you put it, that “renaming a building is perfectly valid if (1) someone contributes $1.25 million to the renovation of said building” and (2) the person whose name is on the building commits a white collar crime.”

            That’s a clear misstatement of my post. What I actually said is that there was NO CONTROVERSY over the renaming of “Law Center” to “Grayson Hall” because (1) the name “‘Law Center’ had no import to anyone” and (2) Grayson had promised to pay over 1/3rd of the cost of the renovation of “Law Center.”

            Do you really believe, that there should have been a controversy or objection over the renaming of “Law Center”?

            I then stated that there was NO CONTROVERSY over the renaming of “Grayson Hall” to “McKenzie Hall” because (1) Grayson had failed to fulfill the terms of the agreement which led to the original naming of the building since the only payment he made to UO was voided as receipt of stolen money and (2) Grayson was otherwise entirely unworthy of the honor because he had stolen hundreds of millions of dollars.

            Do you really believe that there should have been a controversy or objection over re-naming “Grayson Hall”?

            I don’t.

            I would also expect no controversy if Phil Knight, BLM, or anyone else wanted to purchase renaming rights for “McKenzie Hall.” Why? Because I believe that hall is named after a river, not a person. Ditto for Alder Building, which I believe is named after a street which, in turn, is named after a tree.

            But, let’s be clear. If Phil Knight, BLM, or anyone else offered millions to rename Deady Hall I would be opposed to that. Why? Because while I support the normal fundraising practice of “selling” of naming rights to secure University funding, I believe it would only be rarely appropriate to sell “re-naming” rights to buildings honoring specific individuals (with Dunn it is appropriate), and to re-name the oldest building on campus, which was named in 1893 to honor one of UO greatest proponents, crosses my line.

            I do agree with you that there should be a criteria for establishing whether it is appropriate for UO to accept funds for the naming of a new building such as Jacqua Center, Mariota thing, etc. For me, that criteria would be different than the factors that would support renaming a historic building. Why? Because with new construction you are not stripping an existing name off of a building. Still, however, I would not support naming a new building in an fashion which would dishonor the University no matter how much money was offered.

            Do you disagree with anything I have said so far?

            The criteria I just mentioned is essentially what is at issue here: Does Deady Hall dishonor the University. The historical criteria being discussed on this thread was not developed by the opponents of renaming Deady Hall. President Schill has set the criteria to be used for renaming Deady Hall. That criteria seems fairly appropriate to me because in the final analysis I believe he is just trying to mine the history to conclude whether maintaining Deady Hall would dishonor the University. That necessarily requires a historical inquiry, and the historical report submitted by the Student Task Force to support the renaming was clearly deficient necessitating a more thorough evaluation.

            You are simply incorrect that the opposition to the renaming is “ad hoc” or a rationalization for racism. There is nothing ad hoc about the prospect of renaming Deady Hall generating a controversy when the renaming of Grayson Hall did not. Why? Because they are two entirely different situations that are not analogous at all.

            Again, when the opponents of re-naming include folks who have suffered under Jim Crown and fought for civil rights, that’s a very rude accusation to make. When you question the “attitude towards minorities” of folks who took a lead in the fight to honor MLK in Eugene, that’s an uncivil statement. So your credibility suffers.

            Fortunately, for you, you get to hide behind the mask of anonymity and make irresponsible comments.

            I hope that you have learned something from this discussion. My big takeaway from this discussion is that those who teach must have much greater patience than I possess because, frankly, I have led you to the water many times, and I despair that you will ever drink.

            • uomatters Post author | 08/26/2016

              Thanks for your many interesting comments on this Mr. Boyd, and your excellent arguments.

              A bit of history, and some documents on the Grayson Hall controversy. The main issue was the repayment of the funds his firm had stolen from its clients and then given to UO. President Frohnmayer dithered on whether the money should be returned. One ODE story is here:

              In 1997, Grayson, the former president of the bankrupt investment firm Capital Consultants, pledged to donate $1.5 million to the University.

              Since then, he has given the University about $800,000. That money helped fund the renovation of the former law school, which was renamed Grayson Hall in honor of Grayson and his wife Susan.

              But recent investigations have revealed that the money Grayson donated may not have been his to give.

              Last fall, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission shut down Capital Consultants for making bad loans and possibly cheating investors out of millions of dollars.

              Lennon said many of Grayson’s high-profile donations over the past five years came out of the $355 million Capital Consultants allegedly stole from investors and union pension funds. In court records, he has said the company was already unable to pay its debts when Grayson first promised to donate money to the University.

              University officials have said they are not sure whether the money should be returned.

              “The University cannot simply give away money without a clear legal reason to do so,” President Dave Frohnmayer said in a written statement released when talks with Lennon began. “Similarly, the foundation has a fiduciary responsibility to the many donors who have entrusted their funds to them on behalf of the UO.”

              University alumnus Dr. Michael Malos, a Portland physician and surgeon, said the University should rename Grayson Hall, even if that means returning the money.

              “I think they should do whatever it takes to get his name off the building,” Malos said. “We have an individual here who appears to have committed one of the worst financial crimes in U.S. history, and his name is on the former law school.”

              Here are two relevant letters from Frohnmayer, taken from UO’s Presidential Archives (the official UO Public Records Office release of them, that is). The first – and it’s surprising to see an attorney write this – explains that UO doesn’t want the lawyers working to return the stolen funds to the victims to get a cut, and also separates the donation and the naming and denaming:
              Frohnmayer to Anderson letter
              The second, five months later, tells the Graysons that the money Jeff Grayson stole has been returned, and that they have been denamed:
              Frohnmayer to Grayson letter
              Bill Harbaugh, UO Matters

          • M 08/26/2016

            Mr Boyd,

            This is what I was looking for, thank you. I have a MUCH better understanding of your position now. The distinction, if I may paraphrase, is that Deady Hall is honorific, whereas Grayson Hall is hubristic. I think that’s a valid distinction, and can understand why one might want a separate criteria when it comes to naming (though I still can’t bring myself to care about something as vainglorious as a building name of a long dead person — this is just preference, however).

            I have a few residual comments. First, the notions of “dishonor” and “historical significance” are *highly* subjective and culturally specific. Thus, reasonable minds can disagree on whether Deady’s legacy (or Grayson’s legacy, for that matter) “dishonors” the university, even when referring on the same set of facts. I can therefore understand and sympathize with the frustrations of BLM members who are powerless to not only change the name when they feel it is dishonorable, but are also told that their very understanding of “honor” is incorrect (not that you specifically are doing this). Any change that they advocate can only come about with the consent of a benevolent paternalist. It’s an unenviable position to be in.

            My second thought (and this gets back to my original point) is about Gilbert Hall. You stated earlier that you were unaware of this change when it occurred but you would have opposed it if you had known (correct me if I’m mischaracterizing your position). But are you not alarmed by the fact that you are aware of the Deady renaming but not of Gilbert? Do you think that the level of controversy is causally related to cultural (NOT your personal!) biases against ideas originating with certain races? Don’t we have some responsibility to address this issue?

            Finally, I hope you can recognize the irony of engaging in ad hominem arguments against my anonymity because you believe anonymity is conducive to ad hominem arguments. I’m of the generation that believes it is downright irresponsible and dangerous to “doxx” oneself on the internet. I encourage you to read up on the many high-profile cases of “swatting” and other forms of abuse that have occurred when people identify themselves online, *especially* when stating unpopular opinions (see Anita Sarkeesian and Leslie Jones) — perhaps then you will understand my preference for anonymity. I’m not willing to expose myself to that risk for the sake of idiotic, inconsequential discussions with humorless gasbags (present company excluded, of course). Regardless, I believe my arguments have been made in good faith.

            • uomatters Post author | 08/26/2016

              Thanks M, for showing that anonymity does not mean irresponsibility. Ben Franklin – whoops, I mean Silence Dogood – would be proud.

              It may not be improper in the first Place to inform your Readers, that I intend once a Fortnight to present them, by the Help of this Paper, with a short Epistle, which I presume will add somewhat to their Entertainment.
              And since it is observed, that the Generality of People, nowadays, are unwilling either to commend or dispraise what they read, until they are in some measure informed who or what the Author of it is, whether he be poor or rich, old or young, a Schollar or a Leather Apron Man, &c. and give their Opinion of the Performance, according to the Knowledge which they have of the Author’s Circumstances, it may not be amiss to begin with a short Account of my past Life and present Condition, that the Reader may not be at a Loss to judge whether or no my Lucubrations are worth his reading.

              Is there a safe space where I can leave your complimentary UO Matters coffee cup?

          • M 08/26/2016

            There’s an underground garage “just over the Key Bridge in Rosslyn” where we can do the cup exchange. Place a flowerpot with a red flag in the window of your PLC office when you’re ready to meet.

          • Alec H. Boyd 08/29/2016


            Two points require reply.

            First, you ask: “Do you think that the level of controversy is causally related to cultural (NOT your personal!) biases against ideas originating with certain races?”

            No. I do not. The controversy over Deady Hall is largely related to the facts that it is (1) the most historic building on campus, an icon of the University and (2) the rationale for the renaming is the notion that Deady’s name dishonors the University. Whether the renaming proposal originated from black students or white professors, I think the controversy would have been the same. I certainly don’t believe that the main voices publishing OpEds or testifying in favor of retaining Deady Hall, Profs Mooney and Coleman or Mr. Bartlett, are motivated in the least by the fact the proposal originates from black students. Again, I think you are once again making an unjustified charge of racism against people who deserve better.

            Second, you argue: “Finally, I hope you can recognize the irony of engaging in ad hominem arguments against my anonymity because you believe anonymity is conducive to ad hominem arguments.”

            Your view of what constitutes an ad hominem argument is incorrect. An ad hominem argument is directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining. Thus, when you implicitly accuse Profs. Mooney and Coleman or Mr. Bartlett of racism by publicly opposing the renaming of Deady Hall, you are engaging in an ad hominem argument.

            In contrast, when I criticize your use of ad hominem attacks on those gentlemen, I am not attacking you personally (which is essentially impossible because you hide behind the shield of anonymity), I am attacking the content of your position.

            Finally, your defense of anonymous posting is not at all convincing to me. Profs. Mooney and Coleman and Mr. Bartlett all publicly stand behind their positions. So do the proponents of re-naming Deady Hall who have written OpEds. As a result, they know that their positions will reflect on their character and reputations. The same is true for the many people who have written letters to the editor to the Register-Guard and Emerald on this topic and for Prof. Ryan, Sanjay, and Andy who have commented under their own names on this blog.

            Consequently, the discourse of these publicly identified speakers is necessarily more careful, courteous, and thought out than is the norm on internet message boards where anonymous posting is common.

            Ironically, your fear of being outed on an anonymous message board makes my point. You fear being outed because you fear you will be the target of other anonymous posters. That is a fear which shows the negative consequences of anonymous speech. It’s common sense. Anonymity encourages bad behavior because there are no consequences for bad behavior.

            All you have to do is compare the posts of non-anonymous posters on this site to anonymous posters on this site to see what impact anonymous posting has on the quality of discourse.

            Ben Franklin utilized his Silence DoGood name not so he could freely insult others, but because his brother James Franklin, the owner of the paper, would not publish anything that Ben had written. It was a trick used by Ben to gain access to the letters page. You don’t need that trick here. When Ben got his own paper, he published under his own name.

          • M 08/29/2016

            Mr Boyd,

            This is now the fourth time that you have characterized my position as claiming that you, Mooney, Coleman and Bartlett are racist, despite the fact that I have explicitly stated the exact opposite on numerous occasions.

            Please stop using “abusive rhetorical practices.”

            UOM, would you be willing to explain to Mr Boyd why the “everyone uses their real names” outcome he describes is not a Nash equilibrium? I would do it myself, but apparently my anonymity precludes the ability to engage in rational discourse.

      • just different 08/25/2016

        You are correct that the counterarguments have the hollow sound of protesting too much. I think there is a good measure of SEE, WE’RE NOT RACISTS!!! but the real sand in the shorts is the effrontery of a student group “demanding” a renaming, even if they’re right. The medieval hierarchy of the university is much more deeply entrenched and much more punitive than undergraduates realize (or than most faculty are willing to admit). Everything else is window dressing around keeping the power dynamic as it should be.

      • Daffy Duck 08/25/2016

        I agree with some of your points, and only want to add context from my perspective. Each name change has its own context or ‘framing’ to borrow from psychology. The removal of Grayson’s name came in the midst of federal fraud prosecutions, convictions, and front page news stories. Removing the name took months of effort by a campus committee and a team of lawyers. It was neither quiet nor easy. The removal of Gilberts name took place in a much quieter context. Perhaps our current president would have handled that episode differently. Similarly, the Dunn and Deady issues arose in the midst of nationwide controversies. In light of the heightened passions, I believe president Schill decided early on to use the strengths of a university to set in motion a process intended to conduct the debate on intellectual grounds of logic and evidence. Criteria were discussed, debated and established and evidence and opinions gathered. Speaking only for myself, I am prepared to fully support whatever recommendation he makes to the Board. In my opinion, his actions and judgment thus far have earned that deference. Whatever his recommendation, I will not shed any tears because I respect his process.

        • Daffy duck 08/25/2016

          My comment above should have appeared below Ms comments. Out of order for some reason. Sorry for any confusion.

        • M 08/25/2016

          You seem to have a good memory of the Grayson affair — was there a groundswell (OpEds, etc) of popular support in favor of keeping the name the same, similar to what we’re seeing with Deady?

          I guess I’m more cynical than you with regards to the process here. Isn’t the university essentially saying “this is the criteria we will use, *unless* your are rich and white”? Are we going to have historians weigh in on Nike’s labor practices the next time Phil builds a building?

          • just different 08/25/2016

            Another possibly more relevant hypothetical is what the general response would have been had the call to dename originally come from central admin or the University Senate. Or from a department that occupies a building being considered for denaming. What’s different here is that it came from students during a period of well-publicized nationwide protests, so they couldn’t just be ignored. A comparison might be drawn between this and the gender-neutral bathroom issue, which seems to have been resolved without any real controversy.

          • Dog 08/25/2016

            Grayson got indicted in real time and was all over the news. Big difference between that and historical
            incidents …

            Probably the same reason that buildings are not going to be named after Kitzhaber

  12. Andy Stahl 08/25/2016

    On 8/11, I sent the following thoughts on this matter to President Schill:

    Thank you for commissioning this inquiry. Regardless of your recommendation or the Trustees’ decision, you have done a service to the UO and Eugene by this thoughtful response to students’ re-naming petitions.

    My father, UO genetics professor Frank Stahl, moved our family to Eugene in 1959 when I was three. He did so with no small amount of trepidation, knowing of Eugene’s and Oregon’s blatantly racist reputations. The University of Missouri, from which dad was escaping, had disavowed evolution and any semblance of a modern view of genetics. And Missouri’s history of race relations were hardly much better than Oregon’s. Tipping the scale in its favor, the UO’s Terrell Hill and Aaron Novick made a compelling case that the nascent Institute of Molecular Biology embraced the liberal ideals of world-class science. IMB lived up to its promise.

    For me, however, growing up under the cloud of Oregon’s racist legacy meant a lily-white childhood. My only exposure to people of color was from international scientists visiting the Stahl household. My grade school class was all-white; so, too, at Roosevelt Junior High. At South Eugene High School, I recall one African-American classmate out of several hundred.

    What did I miss? I missed what the UO now seeks for itself: “a place where people from different cultures and experiences learn together; understanding and respecting these differences are critical for the University to be a place of open-minded inquiry where, in challenging the boundaries of knowledge, we include and value all members of our community.”

    Although I have long known of Oregon’s racist past, and seen its persistent racist present through the eyes and experiences of friends, until this re-naming inquiry, I had been unaware of Professor Dunn’s and Judge Deady’s roles.

    Insofar as renaming Dunn Hall is concerned, it seems a no-brainer. Nothing can redeem Dunn’s role as leader of Eugene’s KKK. He and his ilk poisoned this town. The UO should repudiate his loathsome legacy in the strongest possible terms.

    Judge Deady may be a closer call. His official actions do not evince hatefulness, as does the KKK. At worst, his pre-judicial actions were those of political expediency representing his racist constituency. That, alone, of course, may justify removing his name from a UO building. And his apparent disinterest in revising his views on race later in life do not militate in favor of continuing to honor him.

    Yours and the Trustees task, however, is not to pay homage to the past, but to lead the UO and Oregon to a better future. Just as the UO did when it took a chance to be a world-leader scientifically by creating the IMB, so, too, the UO should unequivocally disavow racism in Oregon. It has no place in our society. Not on a building, in a classroom, on our streets, in our courtrooms or our legislature.


    Andy Stahl

    [PS: In light of the conversation above, Judge Deady’s judicial rulings in favor of Asians appear consistent with his life-time held views on a hierarchy of races, i.e., white > Asian > black. Neither is his hiring of black subordinates inconsistent with his view that a person’s merit is judged by skin color.

    • Alec H. Boyd 08/25/2016


      I respect the opinions stated in your submission to President Schill. Your view on how UO should react to racism is well-supported, and I recognize it is a reasonable and valid opinion even though I disagree on the specific conclusion as to Deady Hall (on Dunn we all agree, I think).

      Your P.S. seemed a response to me, so here’s a few thoughts:

      Deady did voice opinions regarding persons based on their skin color and does appear to have subscribed to the very prevalent views of his time regarding the hierarchy of races. I agree with the Report’s statements regarding that subject — he was very much of his time. (As another example that is relevant to your mention of the theory of evolution, Darwin’s works of that time period shock our sensibilities today on that front. I don’t think that means Darwin’s works should not be taught at UO.)

      Where I can’t agree with you is your assertion that Deady’s siding with Chinese against whites is consistent with such views on the hierarchy of races. Deady’s jurisprudence and private actions largely supported Chinese against white oppression. He was overcoming his personal racial biases in his public jurisprudence and acts. I find that laudable. Especially since I ascribe to the view that we all have tribal bigotries (whether based on race, religion, economics, or otherwise) and we must all be vigilant to ensure they do not control our actions as to others.

      Deady never had the opportunity to rule on a civil rights issue involving blacks. But his hiring of black bailiffs suggests that he did not believe that blacks should be excluded from the state. Instead, he provided blacks with employment opportunities. Someone who wished to exclude blacks from the State of Oregon would not have done that.

      So, I can’t agree that his pro-Chinese decisions or employment of blacks are consistent with racial bigotry.

      • Andy Stahl 08/25/2016

        We don’t need to rely upon Deady’s official actions (e.g., Chinese-related judicial decisions or employing subordinates), to conclude that Deady’s life-long belief in a “hierarchy of races” exemplifies racial bigotry.

        Another way to look at the renaming question is to ask “Do governments that have institutionalized racism and bigotry in their past have a heightened duty to repudiate these social evils?”

        South Africa thought so. Should Oregon? And, if so, is the process of re-naming a prominent public building a constructive action in that process?

        Choosing the educational merits of retaining Deady Hall’s name as a teaching tool is too milquetoast for my blood. I prefer governmental action that leaves no ambiguity that our state and its institutions condemn bigotry. Period.

        • Alec H. Boyd 08/26/2016

          That’s a fair opinion. But, I believe that historical context needs to be taken into account. I’m not sure I agree that South Africa supports your position, nor do I believe that it is a relevant example to the present controversy. South Africa chose reconciliation as its post-Apartheid goal. Mandella took personal actions to embrace some of the symbols and culture of his former oppressors. But, that’s a different discussion.

          In my view, there is a big difference between condemning a historical figure for (ineffective) pro-slavery speech during an election several years before the Civil War, and condemning someone for bigoted speech in these more enlightened modern times. That is especially true when the historical figure never owned slaves and subsequently was a prominent protector of minorities in his public and official actions.

          Historical context should influence our evaluation of historical figures. Whether those figures be Matthew Deady or Thomas Jefferson or opponents of slavery, such as Charles Darwin, who nonetheless voiced incredibly bigoted opinions. Condemning Jefferson, Deady, or Darwin to the trash heap because they held bigoted views ignores that each, in their own way, were remarkable men for their time periods.

          It is very easy to apply the standards of today to historical figures and conclude that all fall short of the standards we would ask be met today. Doing so, however, does a disservice to our past history. And, in this case, doing so would take a teachable moment about a man who instrumental to the UO (for which he should be honored) that could provide a lasting positive lesson about both our bad history and overcoming bigotry, which is something I would expect you to endorse, and instead convert it into a lost opportunity.

          • Andy Stahl 08/26/2016

            I’m no historian. I couldn’t care less about some old dead judge, nor whether it is better to condemn him by removing his name from an old firetrap or to honor him until the building collapses of its decrepitude.

            The question I ask is “What decision best serves today’s and tomorrow’s UO students?” For me, the teachable moment is not found in Judge Deady’s adherence to judicial precedent nor in his distasteful (but understandable based upon his times) views on race. It is not found in studying his writings nor in the glacial, if any, evolution of his bigoted personal thoughts. Few people care about what some 19th-century federal judge did or thought.

            The important lesson being taught here is the process that government, i.e., a public university, traverses as it improves upon its imperfect past to build a better future. As I stated at the outset in my note to President Schill, regardless of the final naming decision, his process has been exemplary to date.

            That’s not to say the final decision doesn’t matter. I believe a less than wholehearted repudiation of past bigotry would fall short of realizing this process’ full promise. Catalyzed by students whose eyes are on a racially-neutral future that I will not live to see, I hope our political leaders embrace this golden opportunity to unequivocally, publicly, loudly, and proudly reject forever Oregon’s abhorrent racist past.

  13. Alec H. Boyd 08/26/2016

    Again, yours is a fair opinion. If Schill ends up agreeing, so be it. I agree that the process has been a good one.

    I just don’t see retaining Deady Hall as inconsistent with rejecting Oregon’s abhorent racist past. Instead, I see retaining the name Deady Hall, when coupled with appropriate historic displays, as an opportunity to reject our racist past while presenting the educational example of a person whose attitudes evolved as society changed. In my view, this reinforces what I see as the only path forward to a racially-neutral future — personal evolution and societal reconciliation.

    Thanks for the discussion.

    • Andy Stahl 08/26/2016

      Thanks, too, Alec.

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