Board takes 30 min to dename Deady

Live-blog: Really not that hard, was it? I thought the student trustee Katharine Wishnia had the best comments, here. Pres Schill promised some stuff, and maybe called out implicit bias training as the sort of window-dressing we could do without, but I wasn’t really listening, sorry.  If anyone brought up what to do about the Duck’s exploitation of mostly minority football players to pay for coaching, travel, and scholarships for mostly white non-revenue sport athletes I missed it.

Mostly this meeting is online – I mean virtual – but a few of the trustees are in JH:

One of them is wearing what appears to be an American flag mask. I’m no vexillologist who once got chewed out by my Boy Scout Troopmaster for wearing an American flag bandana on a canoe trip, but this is a violation of U.S. Code § 8. Respect for flag:

No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

(d)The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.

(e)The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

(i)The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. …

(j)No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.

Also, the flag should be displayed so that the union (i.e. the stars) are on the observer’s left.

6/24/2020: This is either going to be the shortest board meeting since the one where they bought out Gottfredson, or an opportunity for Pres Schill and our Trustees to give long, heartfelt speeches about their newly acquired but deeply held beliefs about the symbolic importance of de-naming Deady.

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for June 24 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time. This meeting will be limited to the topic of Deady Hall. The next regular, quarterly meeting of the Board is scheduled for September 10-11, 2020.

The June 24 meeting will be held remotely due to ongoing social distancing guidance. Members of the public or media may view a livestream feed at: https://youtu.be/diSuPRnX6Ko or listen via audio only by dialing 1-888-337-0215 and entering Access Code: 9504541.

Those wishing to provide public comment to the Board for this meeting may do so in writing via trustees@uoregon.edu.  All comments will be shared with trustees, but only comments received by 8:00 a.m. on June 24 are guaranteed to be shared with trustees prior to the meeting. Thank you for understanding.

6/10/2020: Pres Schill’s response to Trustee Colas ignores exploitation of black student athletes, accepts denaming Deady

Pres Schill’s letter is below – he says he’s changed his mind on denaming Deady and the Board will meet on it soon. He ignores the exploitation issue.

Trustee Andrew Colas, speaking at last weeks Board meeting:

First he pointed out to Duck AD Rob Mullens that it’s the football players – mostly black – whose unpaid labor earns 75% of the AD budget and supports Mullens and the “non-revenue” sports, which are mostly white. So Black Lives should Matter to Mullens, if he wants to keep getting paid. Video of Colas’s response to AD Rob Mullens is here:

Then, in thoughtful and moving remarks, he called for the Board to vote – immediately – to dename Deady Hall, here:

President Schill’s letter:

Dear University of Oregon community,

The recent, tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of white policemen, coming soon after a spate of other senseless murders of black men and women, has refocused our attention on the racism that affects our black community. Racial disparities touch virtually all aspects of American life, from infant mortality rates, access to health care, residential and educational opportunities, incarceration rates, employment, and life expectancy. The recent COVID-19 pandemic makes clear to all of us once again the disproportionate burden facing our communities of color as reflected in rates of illness and death. The protests in cities throughout the nation, including in Eugene, show the pain many are feeling and the desire for us to be a nation that must do more, that must do better, and that must adopt new approaches to equity.

Almost five years ago, following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Black Student Task Force presented a series of 13 demands to me, which included the denaming of Deady and Dunn halls. Following the preparation and dissemination of a detailed report by three eminent historians on Matthew Deady and Frederick Dunn and a remarkable period of consultation with the entire community that elicited over 1,000 written comments, I recommended to the Board of Trustees that it take the name off Dunn Hall. I did not recommend denaming Deady Hall. Subsequently, the board voted unanimously to dename Dunn Hall and later, after a consultative process, to rename the building in honor of DeNorval Unthank Jr., a distinguished black alumnus and prominent architect.

Three-and-one-half years later, the Board of Trustees is holding a meeting before the end of June to consider whether to rename Deady Hall. Specific details about the time and date of the board meeting will be announced as soon as possible. I have sent a recommendation to the board for their consideration. I recommend that the name be removed.

The Principles of Denaming

In a communication to the community dated September 1, 2016, with respect to Dunn and Deady halls, I stated a set of principles that would guide my decision about whether to recommend to the Board of Trustees that a building be denamed. Those principles were as follows:

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

In my January 25, 2017, decision not to recommend the denaming of Deady Hall I reasoned that, although Deady “held racist views which I find abhorrent and contrary to the principles of our university,” historians found he had undergone a “metamorphosis” as evidenced by his support of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments after the Civil War and acts to protect the rights of Chinese immigrants. Ultimately, I determined that despite the heinous nature of Deady’s views on race, his other “positive acts” and his noteworthy historical importance to the nation, state, and university were of such distinction that it did not merit overturning the presumption against taking his name off the building. You can read my entire recommendation here.

What has changed since then to cause me to reverse my original decision? Everything and, unfortunately, very little. The repeated and senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Laquan McDonald—just to name a few—have pushed us over a tipping point. In addition, the accelerating level of racial inequality in our society, and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, met with indifference by some of our nation’s leaders, have all raised the cost of silence. As our own Trustee Andrew Colas so eloquently stated, if Deady were alive today, then he would surely understand “the need to step aside and let somebody else’s name be on that building for the sake of our university.”

In my 2016 statement of principles I wrote, “[i]t is vital that all students at the University of Oregon feel valued and included as part of this institution. This is true for every member of our community, but particular attention needs to be paid to members of groups who often feel isolated and alienated as a result of their chronic underrepresentation on campus and the legacy of racism in this state and nation.” It is now apparent to me that, as long as Matthew Deady’s name remains in a place of honor on our campus, our students of color will feel that they are not valued; that this institution is not their institution.

Trustee action to remove Matthew Deady’s name from our oldest and arguably most prominent building will send a clear message to our black students as well as our entire community that racism has no place in our academic community and that their welfare, inclusion, and success is central to our mission.

I am mindful of another principle that could be weakened by a vote of the board to remove Deady’s name from Deady Hall—that we should learn from history and not cover it up. We all need to be reminded that racism is insidious because it is embedded not just within the villains of history but in many of us, even those of us who go on to do great things like found a university or become federal court judges. We need to make sure that future generations know who Matthew Deady was— a man who did great good for our state and our university, but a man who also supported causes and ideologies that were abhorrent. To achieve that goal, I will work with our faculty to create an appropriate learning experience on campus to describe Judge Deady and his legacy.

I am under no illusions that my decision to recommend denaming Deady Hall will be greeted with unanimous acclaim. People of good will may weigh the criteria differently from me and/or feel that my recommendation shows insufficient regard for the preservation of history as a vehicle for future generations to avoid the mistakes of the past. In my view, we should respect those views even if we disagree with them.

Finally, I also want to note that we will take this moment to rethink other monuments on campus. Last year, we created the Committee on Recognizing our Diverse History and charged members with, among other things, looking at campus buildings, statues, or artwork and determining whether additional historical context needed to be added to explain the names or items. I did not, however, charge the committee with looking at whether any statues or monuments should be removed. A number of student, employee, and community groups have asked the UO to consider removing certain monuments, and I will now ask the committee to look at this question, take campus input, and provide recommendations to me on whether some pieces should be removed. I will ask the committee, perhaps with some additional members, to complete their work during the 2020-21 academic year.

These steps are necessary but not sufficient. Our community needs to redouble its efforts to combat racism and promote equity. As an educational institution we must work hard to understand the root causes of racism and lead in identifying solutions. But we must not forget that we have not accomplished all that we said we would do in response to the demands of the Black Student Task Force. We have opened a wonderful building to serve as our Black Cultural Center and hired its first director. But we must make sure our black students benefit from this investment. We began a black studies program, but that program continues to require further nurturing. We have hired new faculty of color but our retention efforts have been spotty. We have increased our enrollment of black students, but the numbers are still too low. Transformation sometimes takes years to successfully accomplish. But we will not be deterred; the time is ripe for change.

Sincerely, Michael H Schill, President and Professor of Law

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37 Responses to Board takes 30 min to dename Deady

  1. Publius says:

    The whole basis of Schill’s initial decision on Deady was nonsense. Deady underwent a “metamorphosis”? George Wallace, the most prominent voice for segregation in the 1960s, later recanted his actions, apologized in Martin Luther King Junior’s church, etc. Would anyone in their right mind think this this negated his racist past so made it all right naming a building after him?

    • Dog says:

      revisionist history goes a long way these days …

    • Not a fan of wallace says:

      I’m not aware that naming a building for Wallace is on the UO agenda, and I would not favor it if it were. I also understand that in the die hard world of ideologues of any stripe, there is little room for forgiveness or reconciliation, unlike the world of earnest black voters in Alabama, 90 percent of whom voted for Wallace in his final gubernatorial election.

  2. Is this true for the vast majority of students of color? If so I accept the decision. However, maybe the voices of alumni need to be heard before a decision is made? says:

    “It is now apparent to me that, as long as Matthew Deady’s name remains in a place of honor on our campus, our students of color will feel that they are not valued; that this institution is not their institution,”

    • CSN says:

      Why are the voices of alumni more important than the voices of those who are on campus now?

      • Anonymous says:

        Historical knowledge and real world experience to help better inform value judgments vs superficial reactions which are trending

        • charlie says:

          True. Has that historical knowledge and real world experience been implemented to stop the destruction of shared governance? Did the alumni association caution against increasing debt levels prior to Moody’s negative credit rating? They may have done so, but I’m not familiar with any attempts..,

      • Anonymous says:

        Let’s be honest. Students are fungible in the eyes of the administration. Students show up for a few years then leave. The university has identified alumni with deep pockets and want their donations.

      • Townie says:

        I graduated about ten years ago and I was in favour of denaming the building while I was a student. However, my views have moderated considerably. I would call on alumni, and especially, alumni of color to voice their concerns. I will not shed a tear if the building is denamed.

        Thank you.

  3. Tug o' the Forelock says:

    I’m on campus now, in my 50s. I’ve got plenty of historical knowledge and real-world experience, thankyouverymuch.

  4. blmducks@uoregon.edu says:

    How much does the UO pay the EPD to police its football games? Is it time and a half, overtime? What are the optics of the athletic department–funded by the unpaid slavery of black athletes–paying out big bucks to police officers who gas and beat protesters asking for black rights and who refuse any reform?

  5. Publius says:

    Response to: not a fan of Wallace:

    Actually, ideologues have played a major role in recent decades in projects of reconciliation, starting with the ANC and South Africa truth and reconciliation commission. But, as those projects have recognized, forgiveness/reconciliation begins with acknowledging the truth of the past, not ignoring it. True, African-Americans supported Wallace in his last election. Alabama is capable of generating white candidates even more repugnant to African Americans than Wallace. I am not aware of any statues to Wallace in Alabama, which is the issue here.

  6. AnotherClassified says:

    Note to self: don’t take off the mandated you-must-wear-a-mask when you’re inside a UO building.

    I’m watching the BOT and see that when the President speaks he removes his mask. Hmm? Maybe it’s difficult to talk with it on?

    Think of all the instructors this fall term who will be in the same position several times a day…

  7. Compulsory Pessimist says:

    Did I imagine it, or did Prez Schill *take off his mask to talk* and put it back on when he was done speaking? When did masks become only good to prevent someone’s aerosol when they’re NOT talking in an enclosed room with several other people?

  8. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Surely, with the denaming of Deady, the removal of the statues, and with the recent cultural center, there will be a surge in minority enrollment, morale, and heightened success, graduation rates.

    • just different says:

      It’s a lot easier to decide to enroll and succeed at a school that has a demonstrated commitment to including you. If a school won’t do the easy small things, there’s no chance they will do the difficult big things. Take it as a start and keep the snark.

      • What they said says:

        Like

      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        So Schill has been doing the “easy, small things” for what, four, five years? What are the results? I really am interested. And what are the “big things” you have in mind?

        I like Harbaugh’s program as long as it is not discriminatory or based on lowered standards for anyone involved. I also like charlie’s suggestion about costs.

        Perhaps the faculty would favor a shift of private giving from research to scholarships? Perhaps senior faculty would like to devote more of their own effort to mentoring students in intro classes? Perhaps cuts in salaries and tuition to show solidarity with hardhit working class people from all groups in this time of crisis?

        • just different says:

          A good way to achieve the kind of “big things” you have suggested is to stop hiring or promoting faculty who think broader concerns about equity and social justice isn’t their responsibility. No amount of reallocated resources or implicit bias training can make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

    • charlie says:

      Having taught high school students, many first generation or recent immigrants from Latin America, what matters most to them regarding college attendance is affordability not premised on loans. Yeah, price does matter, as well as educational quality.

      The renaming of a campus building is a PR gimmick that will fade in time. The flagship’s inherent problems, as well as dwindling capacity to repay student loans due to bad economic times, cannot be papered over. That, I can assure you, are the reasons fewer students, whatever demographic profile they’ve been thrown into. will enroll at your institution. Better stop thinking of undergrads as tuition cattle….

  9. Fishwrapper says:

    I’ll bite, as I pulled color guard duty back in those heady days of my youth as a scout. Here’s something you left out: It is entirely possible that the mask use in question was that trustee’s personal expression, protected under a law that is older, and more supreme in this land, than the CFR you cite. The Supremes themselves all but invalidated the opening statement of your citation that, “No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America…” in Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989). Yes, this case was aimed at state anti-desecration laws, and not the federal flag code, but while it may be repugnant to see the U.S. flag improperly displayed, there is a big distinction between seeing an institution (like the UO) do so and an individual (a trustee.) The flag mask is protected as speech as much as if a trustee were to wear, say, a BLM pin during the meeting. (That’s not to suggest that the trustee was making a conscious statement with the flag mask!) And with so many other, bigger fish to fry…

    • uomatters says:

      I think it only counts as “protected expressive conduct” if you cough into your flag mask repeatedly.

    • Hart says:

      Not that this was the main thrust of the complaint here, but depending on the room’s camera/screen setup, there’s a decent chance that flag IS being displayed with the union to the viewer’s left. As anyone who’s ever tried to get someone else to move something left or right over zoom may know, most device cameras that are on the same side of the device as the screen mirror the image (probably because it weirds people out to see their reflections unmirrored)

      • Fishwrapper says:

        Further down the rabbit hole, a glance at the clock in the upper left suggests we are seeing a non-mirrored image in the screen grab.

        • Anas clypeata says:

          Maybe the person is question always walks with his head turned to the right, in which case the flag is correctly oriented.

  10. New Year Cat says:

    It appears that all four people in that room had their masks down at one point or another. LEAVE YOUR MASKS ON! WHAT IS SO HARD ABOUT THAT CONCEPT! You are more likely to infect your fellow trustees when speaking than when breathing. Way to make a rule and immediately break it in front of the world. No wonder there is such lack of confidence in the UO Administration and Board among so many faculty, staff, and students. Wearing a mask to protect others is a no-brainer. If you feel like you have to expose your face you should have dialed in from home.

    • AnotherClassified says:

      True Dat, NYC. How’s the mask thing going to workout in the Fall Term classrooms if it didn’t happen in JH with above average sound enforcement to communicate? Yep, not good.

    • Fishwrapper says:

      Like (very much)

  11. George Smith says:

    It’s Katharine not Katherine fyi. I see her name misspelled everywhere

  12. What they said says:

    The UOM comment about implicit bias training should be corrected. I actually listened carefully. Schill included that workshop in a long list of actions over the last 4 years that included the Black Cultural Center , etc. What he said is that it was all a start, and that none of it was enough.
    If folks have ideas about workshops or mechanisms that would *actually bring them to the table to learn* about which of their actions reinforce exclusion, please comment. The challenge- don’t bitch about implicit bias training, but propose something you think will be effective.

    • uomatters says:

      I suggest volunteering for SAIL, UO’s Summer Academy to Inspire Learning. It’s UO’s largest faculty volunteer program. It’s aim is to increase college attendance by low-income, first generation, and minority students. While we’ll be virtual this summer, for the past 12 or so years we’ve run free week long summer day-camps for HS students (and recently residential camps for students around the state). The goal is to show the students what college is like, convince them they can succeed at it, and support them in college. As an added benefit, you will learn a lot from your students about how tough life is for a lot of people in Oregon, and how they deal with it. https://sail.uoregon.edu/

  13. honest Uncle Gangsta says:

    Somehow I doubt that we are on the same page. My concern is mostly with my academic field, my research. “Social justice” not so much.

    I do have three new letters to write to help get undergrads into med school. An Asian, a white, and a black student, in the order in which they asked. Helped each of them get to a point where they merited my aid to advance. Not with talk about equity, or gibberish about systemic racism and victimization. Instead, working hard and smart to master the material and exceed their self expectations! Call it systemic racism or implicit bias or whatever you want. It damn well works!

  14. just different says:

    Does UO Matters know about this Title IX disciplinary action?
    http://theprofessorisin.com/2020/06/29/institutional-weapons-of-whiteness-blm-guest-post/

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