Eastern Illinois University Looking to Rename Dorm Named for Lincoln Debate Opponent Stephen Douglas
“as a reflection of EIU’s commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment”
Stephen Douglas of the famous ‘Lincoln-Douglas debates’ was in favor of expanding slavery. Not all history is good but it should be remembered.
The College Fix reports:
Illinois university moves to strike name Stephen Douglas from dorm
Eastern Illinois University is working to scrap the name of “Douglas Hall,” an all-male dormitory, because it is named after Stephen Douglas.
The dorm and its twin, “Lincoln Hall,” were originally named to commemorate the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debate at the university’s location in Charleston, Illinois.
The hall’s namesake, Stephen Douglas, infamously advocated expanding slavery in a series of debates against Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1858.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death in May 2020, university officials, professors, and students quickly sought to replace “Douglas Hall” by formally requesting to rename the dormitory.
According to an Oct. 21 university news release, Eastern Illinois University President David Glassman forwarded the request to the Board of Trustees in September and called for a name that better addressed “EIU’s commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment.”
“Over the past few decades, Stephen Douglas has become an increasingly controversial figure for deploying inflammatory and racist rhetoric as a means to realizing his political aspirations, compelling EIU to once again reinstate the University Naming Committee to reconsider the Douglas Hall name as a reflection of EIU’s commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment,” the memo stated.
In November, the university released a shortlist of possible new names for the dorm consisting of former university presidents, faculty, Illinois politicians, and community members who contributed to the civil rights movement or broke through racial barriers.
Recommended names on the list include former Governor of Illinois Edward Coles, EIU’s first African American professor Bill Ridgeway, Tuskegee airman Captain Charles Hall, who served in WWII, and the university’s first African American alumna Zella Powell.
The board of trustees is expected to review and vote on a name change.
“We anticipate a recommendation will be shared with the board in January 2022,” said EIU spokesperson Joshua Reinhart to the Journal Gazette and Times Courier.
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