The Daily Gamecock

'Key buildings and locations' identified for potential renaming in interim report of Commission on University History

<p>The Presidential Commission on University History has released its first interim report, saying it has identified over 70 building names, markers and other entities to review.&nbsp;</p>

The Presidential Commission on University History has released its first interim report, saying it has identified over 70 building names, markers and other entities to review. 

The Presidential Commission on University History has identified "more than 70 named buildings, rooms, monuments and grounds" on the university campus to review, while focusing specifically on renaming for two dozen of these entities, the commission said in an interim report released Friday.

The commission said it is confident it will get more recommendations published in another report "on or around July 1." If President Bob Caslen chooses to act on that report, the state legislature will be unable to review it before its 2021 session ends in May.

Recommendations in the July report will center around buildings such as Wade Hampton College, Blatt P.E. Center, Thomas Cooper Library, Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center, Marion J. Sims residence hall and others, the report said. 

This month, student leaders, including those of the Association of African American Students and USC's NAACP, along with the student body president and vice president, voiced their displeasure at the rate of progress the commission has made since being created on Oct. 18, 2019. 

Both Student Body President Issy Rushton and Student Body Vice President Hannah White are members of the commission.

In Friday's report, the commission did not suggest replacements for any current building names.

The university history subcommittee is developing a list of potential names to be used in case a building’s name is changed, co-chair of the commission and university archivist Elizabeth West said. This list will be added to over time. Renaming opportunities, she said, don't have to be limited to physical buildings. 

"You could have perhaps an alumnus who was really someone that was a star from a particular academic program on campus who had a great career or really gave back, and then you can name a particular program or something like that for that person," West said. "That's just an idea to try and expand people's thinking on what naming opportunities might be."  

The communications and education subcommittee said it will create an "expanded website" that will reflect the updated story of the university's history. This website will add content focused on new information about the university's history and "underrepresented groups" within university history.

The university history subcommittee plans to work on multiple projects. Some include a "plaza," as described by West, to recognize the contributions of Black sororities and fraternities to the university. Another open forum with a more question-and-answer style is also planned for the future.

"There's also a proposal for an event supporting a book that USC Press has been working on, on the African American experience at the college. Those are the kind of ideas we're discussing and are planning to make recommendations for to keep that information out there," West said.

According to the report, the committee would consider the book be made a part of University 101, the First-Year Reading Experience and the University Ambassadors training program. 

The report also said the university history subcommittee is "preparing a proposal to suggest ways to promote the collection and dissemination of experiences of underrepresented groups/individuals."

West said Friday's interim report was a "culmination of a lot of groundwork that was done" since the commission's 2019 creation, where it developed subcommittees and processes and gathered information.