© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

UVM Trustees Approve Removal Of Former College President’s Name From Building

Bailey-Howe Library
Pat Bradley/WAMC
Bailey-Howe Library

The University of Vermont Board of Trustees has unanimously agreed to remove the name of a past president from the campus library. The board agreed that Guy W. Bailey, who served as the college’s president from 1920 until 1940, does not meet the criteria for such an honor. WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley explains why.
The Trustee Renaming Advisory Committee recommended that the University of Vermont Board of Trustees remove Bailey’s name from the library primarily due to “… Bailey’s direct and active involvement, while UVM President, in supporting the Eugenics Survey of Vermont.”  According to the committee, he raised substantial funds for the survey and served on its advisory committee. The committee determined that Bailey’s work is at odds with the mission of the university.
The committee also found that Bailey had misappropriated university finances.

Vice Provost for Student Affairs Annie Stevens says UVM is not unique in dealing with such an issue.  “Lots of college campuses are doing this across the country right or kind of facing some of the historic moments on their own campuses and going through a process of rethinking you know based on history and based on what we know involvement in the past and what that looked like. Is that appropriate for today’s day and age and how do we think about that now? How do we reflect on history? And do we try to make history right?”

The committee received the proposal in April requesting removal of Bailey’s name from Leadership and Developmental Sciences Associate Professor Jackie Weinstock.  She submitted it on behalf of the student-led group “NoNames for Justice,” which did initial research.  “We need to do something that doesn’t just de-name but also educates. One step is removing the name. The next step is making sure that everybody understands why that decision was made and what we can learn from the whole process that the original eugenics survey and the understanding that we have of how horrendous that was. You know how harmful to individuals and communities and how embedded in racism it was. As an educator I hope it becomes something that everybody who comes to UVM understands the story and uses it as an example of having to keep our attention on critically thinking about all of our decisions.”

The decision to remove Bailey’s name occurred on the same weekend signs were posted on the campus that read “It’s okay to be white.”  Stevens says the college immediately removed them for two reasons.   “One is that they were put up against university policy for posting. That’s probably the most simplest reason. And two you know we had these same posters last year and they are found to be connected to a more nationalist movement to cause political strife, a white nationalist movement. So that certainly goes against our UVM common ground and all the values that we stand for. So for those two reasons really is why we take them down.”

Link: UVM Board of Trustees Renaming Advisory Committee’s report.

Related Content