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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Editorial: The UM Board of Curators should vote on new hall name

The board should heed the request from RHA to name the new hall after Lucile Bluford.

May 2, 2017

Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Maneater editorial board.

Corrected 05/04/2017 at 10:57 p.m. A previous version of this editorial mislabeled the UM System Board of Curators. The Maneater regrets this error.

Since the end of 2015, MU has attempted to change its image regarding diversity. MU already created a new position of chief diversity officer in an attempt to further campus diversity. The shift toward further diversification can also be observed in various student groups through multiple forms of legislation and compromises, one of which being the Residence Halls Association, which is currently pressing the UM System Board of Curators to name a new residence hall after black journalist Lucile Bluford. This could only help MU’s attempt to diversify the campus, and it should be done as soon as possible.

Bluford, who attempted to apply to MU’s journalism school an astounding 11 times, was accepted into the journalism school but not allowed to formally enroll due to her race. The university admitted that she was in fact qualified and the decision was based off of her race. She has since been awarded an honorary doctorate degree in humanities from MU, but the original decision to not admit her has left an uncomfortable and disappointing shadow on the university's history.

As previously mentioned, MU created a chief diversity officer position in the wake of protests in fall 2015 that pays approximately $235,000 per year. If MU is okay with paying a position grounded in attempting to help diversify the campus, then it does not seem that far-fetched for the curators to name a hall after a black journalist who advocated for desegregation of educational systems. Bluford’s story is inspiring to say the least, and it is about time a building on the campus receive it’s name in memory of a black woman, something that would be a first at MU according to Maneater reporting.

Currently, the board claims that it has not yet decided on a name for the residence hall due to vacancies on the board. Yet, the board has made other important decisions in the past without a full board. For example, the decision to increase room and board rates was decided under a board that had vacancies earlier this year. Therefore, curators are more than capable of deciding on a name if they are able to decide on other important issues, and this vote should be a priority.

Student groups have pressed for Bluford to be honored through the naming of the new residence hall, which will open at the beginning of next semester. This would be a symbolic gesture and a physical landmark that would hopefully be a sign of MU addressing issues of diversity and racism.

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