Now that Confederate names have been stripped from one LSU street and two buildings are slated to be torn down, a coalition of student groups wants to change the names on two of the more prominent buildings on the Baton Rouge campus.
Renew LSU on Friday filed the official papers requesting that university administrators change the name of Murphy J. Foster Hall, which sits near the bell tower and is home of the Museum of Natural History.
The group will watch how that renaming process works, then will set its sites on changing the name of the John M. Parker Agricultural Coliseum, said Savanah Dickinson, a spokeswoman for the student coalition called Renew LSU.
“Murphy J. Foster and John Parker weren’t Confederates but they weren’t the most savory of individuals and certainly not worthy of such high profile recognition on the LSU campus,” Dickinson said.
While governor between 1892 and 1900, Foster signed legislation establishing voter registration requirements that effectively kicked blacks, poor whites and some Republicans off voter rolls. He later was a U.S. Senator and is the grandfather of Republican Gov. Mike Foster, who held office from 1996 to 2004.
Parker was Louisiana governor from 1920 to 1924. He participated in and refused to apologize for the 1891 lynching of 11 Sicilian immigrants accused of involvement in the murder of New Orleans Police Chief David C. Hennessy.
The student group wants Foster Hall and Parker Coliseum renamed to memorialize LSU alumni with notable accomplishments, such as U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General Robert H. Barrow or Vice President Hubert Humphrey or New Orleans Mayor Dutch Morial.
LSU on Monday changed the name of the street in front of the African American Cultural Center from one remembering a Confederate admiral to on…
Renew LSU is a coalition student groups, including the LSU chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, the LSU Student Government Senate, the Black Leadership Council, the Clarence Barney African American Cultural Center, the Society of African and African American Studies and the LSU chapter of Zeta Phi Beta sorority. Their aim is to have LSU better reflect the diverse student population.
LSU administrators on Nov. 27 changed the name of Raphael Semmes Road, after a Confederate admiral, to Veterans Drive. But university leadership insisted the move just part of an overall plan to add addresses to campus buildings and to generally modernize the street system.
The official position of LSU is that the renaming of streets has nothing to do with the debate over Confederate memorials, even if the street …
Similarly, the master plan that redesigns elements of the campus proposes to demolish a dormitory named for Confederate General Kirby Smith and a classrooms building named for Col. Samuel Henry Lockett, a Confederate engineer. That would leave a dorm named for General P.G.T. Beauregard and two administrative buildings named for David Boyd and Thomas Boyd, who served in the rebel army but also were instrumental in establishing LSU, as the only Confederate brick and mortar legacies on the flagship’s campus.
Only three facilities on the Baton Rouge campus are named after African Americans, seven academic and administrative buildings memorialize women, and 52 carry the names of white men, a Renew LSU survey showed.
African Americans make up 12 percent of the 31,414 students enrolled in 2016 and women accounted for 53 percent of the student population, according to LSU.
Dickinson said the student group doesn’t want to wait, possibly years, to tear down Lockett Hall and Kirby Smith Dorm as outlined in the university Master Plan.
“I don’t think it can wait that long. We’re hindering diversity and LSU has a problem with recruiting,” said Dickinson, who is graduating Friday with two bachelor degrees in Mass Communications and International Studies.
Beauregard Hall should be renamed immediately, she said.
The Policy Statement No. 70 says the name-changing process begins with the submission of a form, detailing the rationale, which eventually goes to a 13-member committee representing administrators, faculty, alumni and the Tiger Athletic Foundation. The panel collects information and solicits comment, then makes a recommendation to the LSU president, who sends it to the Board of Supervisors for a final decision.