Eastern Illinois University Declines to Remove Name of a Proponent of Slavery From a Campus Building

Eastern Illinois University in Charleston has rejected a proposal offered by faculty members to change the name of Douglas Hall. The proposal said that naming a building after Senator Stephen Douglas, who was a fierce defender of slavery and white supremacy, is not appropriate. Some on the faculty have suggested that the name be changed to Douglass Hall to honor former slave and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass. But this was rejected because Douglass had no ties to the university or Illinois.

However, the university committee said that steps should be taken to show that the name of the building is not intended to honor Stephen Douglas but rather to commemorate the 1858 debate in Charleston between Abraham Lincoln and Douglas. Some opponents of the current name suggested that a better alternative would be Debate Hall or Lincoln-Douglas Hall.