Official Meeting Minutes
Presidential Commission on University History
October 14, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.
This meeting of the Presidential Commission on University History at the University of South Carolina Columbia campus took place virtually via Microsoft Teams. Elizabeth West, University Archivist of the South Caroliniana Library, called this meeting to order at 3:01 p.m.
Next Meeting: November 2, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.
Kareemah Hosendove – Roll Call
Attendees: Christian Anderson, Jessica Allison, Stacey Bradley, Melissa Develvis, Myisha Eatmon, Jennifer Gunter, Andrea L’Hommedieu, William Hubbard, Valinda Littlefield, Mercedes Lopez-Rodriguez, Derrick Meggie, Harris Pastides, Carla Pfeffer, Karen Roberts, Issy Rushton, Todd Shaw, James Smith, David Snyder, Hannah White, Qiana Whitted, Elizabeth West, Thad Westbrook, and Julian Williams
I. Subcommittee Reports
Jennifer Gunter – University History Subcommittee Report
- Revisited and discussed the goals for this committee as laid out by President Caslen
- Review of all buildings and their histories
- Elizabeth mentioned that she continues to look for research help in the archival community. She also has a list of buildings with dates and other information that she will upload to the Teams page.
- Jennifer has begun a spreadsheet that will include information that can be built upon and has loaded it to Teams. It will be managed by Melissa Develvis, commission’s research assistant.
- Jennifer has been doing further research on the naming of Strom Thurmond Fitness Center
- There was a return to discussing the hiring of a graduate student to assist with research. The possibility of hiring an international student was addressed and what the hours would need to be to stay within university protocol. The need for a written job description was brought up by Todd Shaw. Val and Elizabeth will work on pulling that together.
Other ideas were discussed on how this information could be easily disseminated as it is discovered. How can we tell a more diverse story of life at UofSC across the generations? This would also get to the students’ desire for visible work being done by the committee. Elizabeth wondered what they might like to see: social media; orientation booklet. Jennifer said she would get input from Student Government.
Other ways to visibly disseminate information and be more transparent:
- Pull together the existing content for the website
- Address university curricula
- Each department and college could include a history of their founding on their webpages to include the history of the building’s name
- Create a resource guide
- Work with Art to develop a brief documentary series about unrevealed history of the university. “This happened here” campaign
- Partner with local communities that have been impacted by the university
- Russell House ballroom as a possible location for public input on buildings and any other issues of concern such as oral interviews because of the need to be more inclusive.
- Create a statement for the website inviting interested parties who wish to present to the committee to submit a written statement
- By end of fall semester have a brief of basic information on the people buildings are named for
- Spring semester we will develop the information
- Work on shared document outlining the research and previous work that we know exists (Ward One app, Ghosts on the Horseshoe app, Slavery at South Carolina College website, previous students’ research, Historic Columbia’s research, and others)
- Create a spreadsheet to track research
- Craft a job description for research help
Recommendations (continued from last meeting)
- Create a Google document that everyone can contribute to
- Begin a social media campaign to highlight significant individuals (one per month was suggested)
- Use the website to show progress
Provide an idea as to how the exploration of the history may be taken
Andrea L’Hommedieu – Names on Landscape Subcommittee Report
Melissa Develvis has begun work researching names on the landscape, prioritizing the first five identified individuals. Melissa and Andrea will be in contact on a consistent basis to discuss progress, challenges and other questions that may arise.
- Small working group within the Names on Landscape subcommittee to create and modify the criteria.
- Once draft is complete it will be presented to the other Names on Landscape subcommittee members for feedback, revise, etc.
- After review, it will be shared with the full commission within the next month.
Suggestion – Criteria serve as a work product
Review of other institutions criteria (e.g. UNC) combined with adoption of the values of the Carolinian Creed.
Suggestion – call for commission to share criteria and other items they may discover with Names on Landscape subcommittee
Elizabeth West – Communication and Education Subcommittee Report
Planning of public forums
- Future forums – one in November
- Website updates
- categories and topics to expand History section
- Expanded framework on History
- Future History of UofSC
- Making statement of the commission “today and tomorrow”
History subcommittee note regarding public forums
- Groups we may want to consider inviting
Attention will be given to all groups to be heard by the commission
There has been an uptick in comments submitted to the website
Suggestion - Ward One Community Forum
- How can the commission invite people to invite individuals across the state to listen and contribute to forums?
Great resources across the state that can contribute to commission initiatives
University leadership will work with Ward One and Board of Trustees to communicate throughout the state to connect with other constituents.
Invitation extended to President Caslen and Board of Trustees members to attend upcoming commission meetings.
Suggestion - Interim report content:
- complete criteria work
- observe other higher education institutions experience and contents of their criteria
- within the final report to set expectations regarding set standards the commission will provide to all constituents.
Call for all commission subcommittees to be specific in content for interim report
Virtual public forum updates
- Headcount Oct. 15 public forum is 8
- All meetings are recorded and available
Approval of meeting minutes (September 14, 2020)
Motioned and seconded
Good of the Order Items
Suggestion – Separate report regarding future planning pathway
Going forward, commission exploration of the university and community relationship
Black Faculty Caucus’ Statement of Principle – serve as a guide of principles for the commission
- University Libraries proposed research grant
- Preserving articles and materials related to BLM movement in Columbia
- Partnerships outside of the university – Allen, Benedict, and Claflin
Suggestion – Include Columbia College in partnerships
Interim report presentation – second week of December
Planning for Richard T. Greener annual symposium
Future commission meeting dates:
November 2 at 11:00 a.m. and December 2 at 3:00 p.m.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:57 p.m.
Recorded by Kareemah Hosendove,
Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion