LSU’s Building Name Evaluation Committee holds inaugural meeting since library’s name change

    BRIEF

    A work crew removed the name of Troy H. Middleton from Louisiana State University's main library Friday, June 19, leaving the building without a name. The LSU Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to remove Middleton's name, citing his refusal to honor Black citizens' constitutional rights. (Photo by Julie O'Donoghue)

    When a protest led by Black LSU students led to the university removing the name of a segregationist university president from the main library, those young activists said their work wasn’t done, and the university promised a more thorough evaluation of the names that adorn its buildings.  

    On Tuesday, the university’s Building Name Evaluation Committee, which is in charge of “eliminating building and place names that are a reminder of a racist and segregated past and that inhibit our students’ learning and full inclusion on campus,” held its inaugural meeting.

    The committee is made up of 16 faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

    The committee has not yet proposed a timeline to start the renaming process, Galligan said. But he expects that will be discussed during its next meeting.

    “The goal is to be both efficient and thorough, ensuring full, informed discussion and deliberation,” Galligan said.

    In June, the LSU Board of Supervisors removed Troy H. Middleton’s name from LSU’s main library “based on his efforts to deny Black American citizens from enjoying the equal rights and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution” after a student created a petition to have Middleton’s name removed. Middleton served as president of the university from 1951 to 1962.

    Alaysia Johnson, the president of the LSU Black Caucus and chairwoman of the Black Women’s Empowerment Initiative, said in June that the removal of Middleton’s name was a first step, but only that. “I’m really hoping they didn’t just do it to keep us quiet for now.” 

    Today, Johnson said she feels the university is moving in the right direction. 

    “I think overall we’re handling it a little bit better than other institutions, so I’m definitely hopeful that we’re going to keep moving forward,” Johnson said. “It definitely has been a challenge, but I am overall pretty satisfied with the work we’re doing so far.”

    After Middleton’s name was removed, LSU’S Democracy at work started another petition to rename 12 more buildings students say honors racists. As of Sept. 16, that petition had 4,730 signatures.

    The 16 members of the Building Name Evaulation Committee are:

    • Verge Ausberry (staff) — LSU Athletics Executive Deputy AD/Executive Director of External Relations
    • DeMetris Causer (student) — Black Law Students Association Member
    • Stone Cox (student) — LSU Student Government President, Board of Supervisors Member
    • Jason Droddy (staff) — Associate Vice President for the LSU Board of Supervisors
    • Katrina Dunn (alumna) — LSU National Diversity Advisory Board, President of the A.P. Tureaud Sr. Black Alumni Chapter, Practice Administrator, Co-owner, Auburn Urogynecology and Women’s Health
    • Theresa Gallion (alumna) — LSU Foundation National Board member, TAF Board of Directors, Partner at Cornell Smith Mierl Brutocao Burton, LLP
    • Tina M. Harris (faculty) — Douglas L. Manship Sr.-Dori Maynard Endowed Chair of Race, Media, and Cultural Literacy in the Manship School of Mass Communication
    • Tyler Hunt (student) — Black Women’s Empowerment Initiative Scholar
    • Dawn Jenkins (staff) — College of Science Director of Communications
    • Trey Jones (staff, ex-officio member) — Deputy General Counsel
    • Jonathan Levesque (staff) — IT Manager and Building Coordinator, President of LSU Staff Senate
    • Mandi Lopez (faculty) — Director Laboratory for Equine and Comparative Orthopedic Research, LSU Faculty Senate President