EUGENE, Ore. -- University of Oregon Board of Trustees member Andrew Colas is renewing calls to change the name of Deady Hall in light of recent protests over the death of George Floyd.
Deady Hall, which houses the university’s math department, was named over a century ago after judge and politician Matthew Deady, who was once president of the university’s Board of Regents.
According to the Oregon Historical Society, Deady took a "pro-slavery, anti-black, and anti-Chinese" stance while presiding over the 1857 constitutional debates. Deady is also quoted as comparing black people to property, which Colas brought up at a recent board meeting when he called for the name change.
“I cannot accept a person that would see me and believe that I am as good as a horse, cattle or a piece of land. That wrecks me inside,” Colas said.
Colas told board members he does not want students to return to campus in September and see Deady’s name on the building, saying it could even be a liability down the line.
“I think we have a fiduciary responsibility given where we are today to rename that building. I don’t want students coming back to the University of Oregon in September with that still being called Deady,” Colas said.
Some students on campus agree, including graduate student Hannah Wellman.
“I cannot imagine what it must be like to be a person of color in this country right now, but to have to live with the microaggression of walking by the building every day and be reminded, that’s unfair,” Wellman said.
Because Colas’ request was not on the board’s agenda, it could not be considered or discussed at Thursday’s meeting. However, board members said they look forward to more discussion over the name of the building in the future.
Notable, the university commissoned a report in 2016 to evaluate whether to change the name of the building after students raised concerns. UO President Michael H. Schill advised the Board of Trustees not to change the name.