CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University President Ed Ray announced Monday his decision to rename three buildings on OSU’s Corvallis campus while retaining the names of two other buildings.
The names of the Arnold Dining Center and Gill Coliseum will not change, the school announced in a news release, the rest of which follows:
Ray said that the university will undertake a process in winter 2018 that engages the entire OSU community to recommend to him:
* A new name for Avery Lodge;
* A new name for Benton Hall that appropriately recognizes the many contributions of Benton County community residents in the 1860’s and 70’s that supported the founding of this university; and
* A new name for Benton Annex that appropriately recognizes the building as home to the OSU Women’s Center.
Over a period of years, several OSU students, faculty, alumni and members of the Corvallis community had raised concerns regarding alleged exclusionary views held by the namesakes of these five buildings.
“The names of all buildings and places play a very important role in our university,” Ray said. “They speak to the 149-year history of OSU, the university’s values and mission, and our efforts to create an inclusive community for all. Names also recognize and honor the positive contributions of those associated with Oregon State University.”
In a communication sent today to OSU students, faculty and staff, Ray shared his decision-making process. He also noted that the process of evaluating the history of five buildings and their namesakes occurs at a very important time in the university’s history – the celebration of OSU150: Oregon State’s 150th anniversary as Oregon’s statewide university.
“By exploring our past, we will recognize that everything and everyone who preceded us, helped get us to who and where we are today,” Ray said. “This knowledge will guide us to improve. And in doing so, reconcile past injustices and provide for greater future inclusivity and success for all.
“Like the review of these building names, OSU150 will inform and illuminate that history, not eliminate it, nor celebrate all aspects of it.”
Over the past two years, hundreds of OSU students and employees, community stakeholders and alumni participated in numerous meetings about these buildings. Hundreds more contributed their input by e-mail, in phone calls, and on a website comment form created for this building name review.
In addition, the university conducted scholarly research on each of these buildings and interviewed more than a dozen individuals who personally knew these buildings’ namesakes. The scholars’ research resulted in four reports totaling more than 50 pages and a 27-page qualitative analysis of the input received on the website comment form and at six community meetings.
“The process of reconciling the histories of these buildings has embodied the spirit and purpose of this university,” Ray said. “OSU is a community where learning, discovery, listening, discussion – and even debate – is respected and encouraged.
“While not everyone will agree with the outcomes, I believe this process is proof that at OSU, we productively and positively take on tough issues and collaborate.”
Ray received recommendations regarding each of these buildings from OSU’s Architectural Naming Committee, and he met with members of a Building and Place Name Evaluation Work Group regarding their assessment of these buildings’ names.
In addition to undertaking a process to rename the three buildings, Ray directed the OSU Architectural Naming Committee to:
- Develop and share public education about the history of the five buildings and their namesakes;
- Lead the university in gathering the history of all OSU buildings and their namesakes; and
- Create website information, mobile app information and permanent history displays for all university buildings.
The university’s building names and places evaluation process, renaming criteria and naming policy, along with the research on these buildings and their namesakes, is found on the OSU Building and Place Name website.