OSU committee reviews racist building names

UO already changed the racist names of some halls

Benton Hall at Oregon State University in Corvallis. (KOIN)
Benton Hall at Oregon State University in Corvallis. (KOIN)

CORVALLIS, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon State University is considering whether to change the names of several campus building that students say are named after racist people.

The 4 buildings in question are Benton Hall — named after a white supremacist; Avery Lodge, named for a man who owned a pro-slavery newspaper; the Arnold Dining Center, named after a former confederate soldier turned OSU president; and the Gill Coliseum, named for a longtime basketball coach who student protesters claim refused to integrate his all-white team.

Gill Coliseum at Oregon State University in Corvallis. (KOIN)
Gill Coliseum at Oregon State University in Corvallis. (KOIN)

“Concerns that we heard, are really not new,” OSU spokesperson Steve Clark said.

Clark said because of these racist concerns, a committee was created to do a historical review of the buildings.

“What we are doing is learning about history, not only the history of the building but the history of the person that building was named after,” Clark said.

Student Taylor Burton said if they aren’t going to change the building’s name, they should educate people about the namesake.

“If they are not going to change the names at least, give the background and let the people know what these people’s background and what their affiliation is,” Burton said.

The committee will make a recommendation to the university’s president and announce their decision on November 27.

“We’ve made a commitment that in those buildings, within the lobbies of each building there will be a portrayal of history which will tell us about the past and why it’s important to our present.” Clark said.

Community meetings are being held in the Memorial Union Ballroom to discuss the buildings and their history throughout October:

  • October 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m. to discuss Arnold Dining Center
  • October 16, 5:30-7:30 to discuss Avery Lodge
  • October 17, 5:30-7:30 to discuss Benton Hall
  • October 19, 5:30-7:30 to discuss Gill Coliseum

More on the history of Benton Hall