On Wednesday, the University of California Berkeley proceeds to remove two of their buildings’ names. According to the official reports, the university’s formal investigation of the infrastructures namesakes turned out to promote racist ideologies and standards.
The names of the two buildings were inspirations from two late professors who once taught at the university many years ago. After a board meeting concerning its review, UC Berkeley realized that the labels do indeed encourage the support of racist ideals and white supremacy.
Previously known as LeConte Hall (this infrastructure consists of two buildings) and Barrows Hall, the university has decided to rename them temporarily as Physics North, Physics South, and Social Sciences buildings. Until the school board comes up with new names, the previously mentioned premises would have to live with those titles. Additionally, the university also informed that on Wednesday morning, school staff began to remove signages of the old names.
The buildings got their names in honor of some of the university’s infamous educational figures. The Barrows Hall derived its name from the late professor David Prescott Barrows. Barrows became a UC president sometime from 1919 to 1923 and later continued his teaching profession as one of the university’s faculty members from 1910 to 1942. Meanwhile, the LaConte Hall originated its label from brothers Joseph and John LeConte. According to the school’s official history records, Joseph LeConte was previously a naturalist who came to Berkeley in 1869 with his brother. John LeConte, on the other hand, was the University of California’s first acting president and also one of the first Californian faculty staff.
According to the retrieved renaming proposition of Barrows, his entire life and written works revolved around the advanced interests toward white supremacy and the outstanding framework of racism. Moreover, he wrote the controversial statement of full-biased favor for the white or European race supremacy against all other bloodlines.
On the other hand, the LeConte brothers allegedly owned approximately 200 enslaved individuals back in their days of living in Georgia. According to the LeConte proposal, the brothers wrote notes upholding white supremacist ideals. Additionally, the LeConte’s brawled with the Confederacy to continue the implementation of slavery practices. The fight occurred sometime during their prime near the end of the 19th century.
An 1889 article titled “The South Revisited” written by Joseph LeConte provides more evidence of his favor towards supporting whites and downgrading not only the black community but also other races. According to his written sentences, he surmised that the whites hold the negros’ interests by heart and attend to their demands and wishes. However, the request can only happen if the whites were the only ones who can lead the nation and its stately affairs. The previously mentioned statements promote Joseph’s discriminatory ideas surrounding different human races.
In response to the discovered controversial proofs, the UC Berkeley African American Student Development Office members forwarded the Barrows renaming proposal to the UC Berkeley Name Review Committee. The previously mentioned event happened in this year’s Month of July, with hopes of addressing the scandalous evidence surrounding the names of the university’s two buildings. The LeConte proposition got forwarded earlier than Barrows with the bid sent by the UC Berkeley physics faculty last June.
Based on the forwarded proposals, the university’s Black Student Union was the first organization to encourage altering the buildings’ names in 2015. Several years after, the Daily Cal published multiple editorials and articles focusing on the demand of the Barrows’ and the LeConte’s building names removed from their front walls.
The fourth-year Ph.D. student and the Black Graduate Student Association co-president Caleb Dawson declared that their university buildings’ names should not continue its dark reminder of the discriminatory wars that happened between the whites and the blacks hundreds of years ago. Instead, Dawson suggested the buildings should derive their new names based on the university’s policies, norms, and practices.