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University History

University History Subcommittee Final Report

Committee Members

Jennifer Gunter and Valinda Littlefield, co-chairs; Jessica Allison, Christian Anderson, Melissa DeVelvis, Myisha Eatmon, Mercedes Lopez-Rodriguez, Todd Shaw, Harry Singleton, Elizabeth West, Hannah White

Charge

The University History subcommittee was charged with: 1) conducting preliminary research on holdings and publications on the University’s history, especially with respect to disenfranchised and marginalized individuals and communities, and identifying such gaps; 2) conducting preliminary research on names of buildings and monuments on the Columbia campus;  3) working with Communications and Education subcommittee to identify ways to promote a more diverse story of the University through research and dissemination of information; 4) providing recommended naming criteria and a list of naming suggestions with a brief biography and argument for the individual recommendation.  

Statement of Comprehensive Work

The committee initially focused its efforts on developing procedures for addressing the charges given by President Caslen.  Information from other higher education institutions doing similar work was gathered (UNC-Chapel, Hill, University of Virginia, University of Alabama, Georgetown University, Brown University, University of Georgia, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign). Melissa DeVelvis spearheaded the research initiative on holdings and publications on University of South Carolina history and worked with the committee to design the template for expanded history on underrepresented groups (Appendix 2). The committee worked with students, faculty, staff and community members to collect name recommendations.  Committee members agreed on 16 names (Robert G. Anderson, Luther J. Battiste III, James E. Clyburn, Matilda A. Evans, Ernest A. Finney Jr., Willie Lloyd Harriford Jr., Henrie Monteith, Edna Smith Primus, the Rollin sisters, Celia Dial Saxon, Robert Smalls, James L. Solomon Jr., T. McCants Stewart, Alonzo Townsend, Harry Walker, William James Whipper) to recommended for naming opportunities and wrote brief biographies on each (Appendix 3).  DeVelvis spearheaded the research on buildings and monument names and completed a listing of 76 with brief information on history and brief biographical information on individuals (Appendix 4).  The Committee developed proposed criteria for naming buildings/rooms (Appendix 5). The Committee worked with the Communications and Education subcommittee to propose ideas for continued work (see Recommendations), and prepared a spreadsheet of all suggested names (Appendix 6).

Meeting Reports and Agendas

There are reports to the full commission for each commission meeting. Some reports covered more than one meeting since the subcommittee met more often than the full commission. Reports were given on the following dates:  8/21/20; 9/14/20; 10/14/20; 11/02/20; 1/12/21; 2/18/21; 3/15/21; 4/6/21; 5/2/21; 6/2/21 (Appendix 7).

Subcommittee meetings were held on the following dates: 8/17/20; 9/2/20; 10/2/20; 11/11/20; 1/20/21; 2/2/21; 2/17/21; 3/3/21; 3/17/21; 3/31/21; 4/28/21. There are minutes on each meeting (Appendix 7). Co-chairs met prior to each meeting and on three occasions with guest presenters.

Accomplishments

  • Developed a template for expanded history on underrepresented groups and their contributions to the University, to be housed on University history website and updated as new information is collected
  • Worked with Communications and Education subcommittee to develop a proposal suggesting ways to promote the collection and dissemination of experiences of underrepresented groups/individuals
  • Developed proposed criteria for renaming buildings/rooms
  • Provided 16 recommendations and brief biographies of African Americans to be considered for naming opportunities
  • Developed a spreadsheet with potential naming list from community, faculty, staff and student input  

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