An email from President Glassman on behalf of EIU's Naming Committee (3/18/21)
Students and colleagues,
Earlier this academic year, I asked that a University Naming Committee be assembled to evaluate whether EIU should consider renaming "Douglas Hall." As background, the “Douglas Hall” name was originally sanctioned by the University in the early 1950s as a way to honor the City of Charleston as one of only seven Illinois towns to host the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates. Since then, Stephen Douglas himself has become an increasingly controversial figure, primarily for deploying inflammatory and racist rhetoric as a means to realizing his political aspirations.
This is not the first time a University committee has been assembled to make a recommendation on a potential renaming. However, citing the death of George Floyd and other incidents of racial and social injustices, the University community was compelled to revisit the Douglas Hall designation this academic year, recognizing the grief and anguish often caused by unchecked systemic oppression and institutional racism.
As a testament to EIU’s values of diversity and inclusivity, the Naming Committee is especially interested in hearing from members of our EIU Family. To that end, the Naming Committee will host a series of "virtual forums" throughout March and early April in which EIU faculty, staff, students, and members of the community are encouraged to provide targeted feedback to committee members on this distinct issue.
EIU leadership encourages everyone in the EIU campus community to engage in this important conversation. Forum details are listed below. Those who do not wish to or cannot attend an appropriate forum can participate in an online survey, available here: go.eiu.edu/EIUDouglasHallSurvey. Survey participants have the option to remain anonymous.
This message was sent on behalf of EIU’s Naming Committee.