Draft Meeting Minutes
Presidential Commission on University History
December 2, 2020 at 10:00 a.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 for the South Caroliniana Library, called this meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.
Next Meeting: December 2, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Kareemah Hosendove – Roll Call
Attendees: Dan Adams, Jessica Allison, Christian Anderson, Stacey Bradley, Myisha Eatmon, Walter Edgar, Andrea L’Hommedieu, Valinda Littlefield, Mercedes Lopez-Rodriguez, Harris Pastides, Carla Pfeffer, Karen Roberts, Issy Rushton, David Seaton, Todd Shaw, Harry Singleton, James Smith, David Snyder, Elizabeth West, Hannah White, Jeff Wilkinson, Julian Williams, Qiana Whitted
Elizabeth West - Updates
New member introduction: Dan Adams, Eddie Floyd, David Seaton
These members serve as representatives of the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees.
Andrea L’Hommedieu – Summary
Process: Committee observed other institutions (UNC-Chapel Hill, Stanford and UVA) who were reviewing names on buildings and landscapes. Criteria used by these institutions was reviewed.
Foundation of the criteria is based in criteria from UNC-Chapel Hill, the Carolinian Creed, language from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the president’s charge to the committee. Within two to three weeks, the criteria draft was created, reviewed, and revised by the commission members.
– Criteria and process: How would criteria be used? How will balance be determined regarding pros/cons?
– Criteria is more of a balance of justice. It will include pros and cons of individuals
– Is the commission considering honorary degrees given to individuals. Would that be embodied within the criteria?
– The commission is considering what was known and unknown during the time the degree was awarded. Both good and bad contributions must be considered in order to make a final determination
– The review process should be holistic approach. Point one of the criteria mentions, ideas of redemption. This point supports the fair review by the commission to do a fair review.
– Consideration of preserving history and providing fuller scope of an individual’s life.
– Is there opportunity to interpret the history of individual contributions to the university? How will the commission do this?
– History committee is being tasked with researching contributions. The goal is to be more inclusive in collecting narratives of faculty and staff of the university.
– Ongoing process of research and data collection. Goal is to build an infrastructure so that this can be accomplished.
– What is the role of the commission to explain to students and the community why there would be a removal of names from these buildings? Documentation is important to justify why names are removed. How will the commission educate constituents on why the names were removed?
– Similar to the process of the renaming of the Sims building, the reasoning is cited, and the information is available.
– Where will this information be located? On the landscape or online? Is there a plan to give people access to the narrative? Is there going to be a physical marking?
– This will be considered during the recommendations
– Considerations regarding criteria:
(1) Item to use “the preponderance of evidence of the case being made would support the adjudication standard within the criteria.” This will add a layer of transparency as to how the commission is evaluating each of the buildings in the naming.
(2) In regard to the process, use the interim report to set precedent of the criteria.
– Redemption article within first point of criteria should stand alone. Redemption and change should be separate.
– Regarding point 4 of the criteria, we should consider not only who are we hearing from but who are we not hearing from. When we speak of centrality, are we thinking about those who were provided opportunities in addition to who was denied opportunities?
– Longstreet and Hampton buildings are named after “heroes.” When labeling individuals’ heroes it takes consideration to a different place. Terms such as “valor” and “heroes” are military terms.
– Is it possible to offer contextualization of buildings while still renaming buildings?
Elizabeth West – Summary
There is a list of several names to be considered. Before these individuals can be considered, changes and further revision need to be made to the criteria.
- Agreement of included suggested statements from James Smith for criteria introduction/preamble
- Splitting the number one into two separate points.
The commission will continue to revise the criteria with suggested changes electronically.
Elizabeth West – Motion to Adjourn
The meeting was adjourned at 11:07 a.m.
Recorded by Kareemah Hosendove,
Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion