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LSU may rename more buildings that hearken back to school's 'racist past'

Greg Hilburn
Monroe News-Star
Dereck Rovaris, LSU's vice provost for diversity, is among the 16 members of the new LSU Building Name Evaluation Committee.

LSU, which removed the name of former segregationist university President Troy H. Middleton from its library in June, has formed a panel to consider renaming other buildings that are reminders of the school's "racist  and segregated past."

Interim President Tom Galligan announced the 16-member committee, which is comprised of faculty, staff, students and alumni.

"LSU is committed to 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," Galligan said in a press release.

The LSU Board of Supervisors will make the ultimate decision if a building is recommended to be renamed.

In June the board agreed without objection to remove the name of Middleton, who was LSU's president from 1951-62 and opposed the integration of LSU with Black students during his tenure.

Gov. John Bel Edwards spoke at that meeting and advocated for the change.

More:LSU changes name of library to break from racist past; 'Black Lives Matter,' Gov. Edwards says

"In 2020 and going forward, LSU students shouldn’t be studying in a library named after someone who didn’t want them to be LSU students," Edwards said. "We can't change the past, but neither should we live in it. This is a chance to do that and be on the right side of history."

Galligan said the formation of the committee is "part of our ongoing work to cultivate a more inclusive, equitable and diverse campus community that is welcoming to all."

He said the committee will consider existing names "as they see fit and as suggested" to determine if they are "symbols of or monuments to racism."

Following are members of the committee: Verge Ausberry, LSU executive deputy athletic director and executive director of external relations; DeMetris Causer, Black Law Students Association member; Stone Cox, LSU student government president and LSU Board of Supervisors member;

Jason Droddy, 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 and co-owner of Auburn Urogynecology and Women’s Health; Theresa Gallion (alumna), LSU Foundation National Board member, TAF board of directors, and 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, LSU College of Science director of communications; Trey Jones (staff, ex-officio member), deputy general counsel;

Jonathan Levesque, IT manager and building coordinator and president of LSU Staff Senate; Mandi Lopez, director of Laboratory for Equine and Comparative Orthopedic Research and LSU Faculty Senate President; Theda Daniels-Race, Michel B. Voorhies Distinguished Professor; Dereck Rovaris, vice provost for diversity; James Stoner, Hermann Moyse Jr., political science professor; and Devin Woodson (student), Black Male Leadership Initiative co-chair.

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.