ALABAMA STATE UNIVERSITY REVIEWING CAMPUS BUILDING NAMES FOR REMOVAL

By Chip Brownlee

Photo Caption: Alabama State University announced last Tuesday it would begin the process of removing names of individuals with racist backgrounds from the campus’ buildings. (CENTER) ASU President Quinton Ross requested a review of the names on campus buildings for consideration of removal.

Alabama State University is the next Alabama university considering renaming buildings.

“I have requested a review of the names on campus buildings for consideration of removal based on connections to or leadership of racist organizations, policies or political activity,” ASU President Quinton Ross Jr. said in a statement.

The results of the review will be part of a presentation and recommendations Ross said he will make to the university’s board of trustees.

“We understand that the names have become a part of ASU history and may have sentimental significance for some of our alumni,” Ross said. “But as leaders of the University that was at the heart of the modern Civil Rights Movement, we feel that we must be proactive in our response to the pervasive and public displays of racism in this country.”

The review is the second major step the university has taken sincethe murder of George Floyd sparked protests nationwide.

The university also established the Floyd/Gunn scholarship in honor of Floyd and Greg Gunn, a black man killed by a Montgomery police officer in 2016. The officer involved was convicted of manslaughter last year.

ASU’s decision to review campus building names comes after the University of Alabama System on Monday said it was doing the same while also removing three plaques that honored Confederates from the University of Alabama’s campus in Tuscaloosa.

Since Floyd was killed, sparking nationwide outrage, dozens of Confederate monuments and statues across the country have been removed. Birmingham has removed a Confederate monument from Linn Park and Mobile removed a Confederate statue a square downtown.

Petitions have been filed at colleges and universities across the state to rename buildings named after racist individuals, Confederates and slaveholders.

A petition at Auburn University seeks the renaming of Wallace Hall, named after Alabama’s former Gov. George Wallace, a firebrand segregationist.

There are at least 10 such buildings on Auburn’s campus — according to a map developed by Auburn’s history department.

Among them: Samford Hall, named after William J. Samford, a Confederate soldier. His father, William F. Samford was a slaveholder at “Sunny Slope” and a leading Alabama secessionist, “the penman of secession.” Auburn’s Board of Trustees, which is separate from the University of Alabama System, has not said whether it has plans to review the names of the buildings.