Buildings and places play a very important role in our university. When OSU names a building, that name and building speak to the university’s values and its mission, as well as our collective work to create inclusivity and recognize the positive contributions of all those associated with the university.
Over the past two years, a number of OSU community members have raised concerns regarding several buildings whose namesakes may have held or espoused views that were exclusionary or inconsistent with the university’s values. These buildings are Avery Lodge, Arnold Dining Center, Benton Hall and Gill Coliseum.
I have asked the Office of Institutional Diversity, the OSU Architectural Naming Committee and a special Building and Place Name Evaluation workgroup made up of faculty, staff and students to undertake a full and transparent historical review of these buildings and their namesakes. This review builds on a process first announced last school year and will engage the entire university community and OSU stakeholders to learn about and discuss these buildings and their names.
Once this review and gathering of community input is completed, I will meet with and review recommendations from the Architectural Naming Committee and the Building and Place Name Evaluation workgroup as to whether these buildings will retain their current names or have their names changed. I will announce my decision the week of Nov. 27.
Whether a building’s name is changed or not, it is important to learn from our history and permanent educational plaques and displays will be created to contextualize the history of each building and its name. Such transparent efforts are essential to our growth as an inclusive university community that is committed to success for all.
I encourage your involvement in this important process.
President, Oregon State University
During fall term, the OSU community will engage in a process to evaluate the names of four buildings on the Corvallis campus – Arnold Dining Center, Avery Lodge, Benton Hall and Gill Coliseum – whose namesakes may have held or espoused racist or otherwise exclusionary views. The community will be asked to consider whether the context of the lives and legacies of the buildings' namesakes are inconsistent with OSU's present mission and values such that the buildings should be renamed.
This process will involve the broad OSU community, including current students, staff and faculty throughout Oregon, alumni and community stakeholders. It will be informed by historical inquiry and guided by a committment to build community through reconciliation and learning from difficult parts of OSU's history.
Community Engagement Sessions
Building Name Evaluation Sessions
A full evaluation of renaming requests will be based on the question: Should a building be renamed because the “context” of an individual’s life and legacy is inconsistent with OSU’s contemporary mission and values?
“Context” is evaluated by the following criteria:
By examining the “context” of an individual's life as a university community, we can examine the viewpoints and actions of an individual, and the university's values, practices and policies that may have enabled or supported racist or exclusionary views.
Named after the residents of Benton County in 1947; constructed in 1887-1888. Annex constructed in 1892 and named in 1972. Benton County was named for Thomas Hart Benton, a United States senator from Missouri. More Information. Benton Hall and Annex Historical Report.