Project of the Week: Building names reveal racial disparities

A majority of the buildings on campus are named after white men.
Construction workers dig at the site of the Jones building construction Oct. 6, 2015, on Kentucky Boulevard.

As another year of incoming freshmen begin to log on to ROAR and decide where they’ll live for next year with the help of our Residence Hall guide, one aspect they might have to consider is the name of the hall they’ll be living in.

In October, the Projects department researched the names of residence halls and academic buildings on campus and found that, at the time, “77 out of 94 buildings or structures on campus that are named after white men. Eight are named after white women and five are named after white couples.” In “Building names reveal racial disparities” the naming process is explored in detail, including an interactive map breaking names down by ethnicity and gender.

Residential Life’s most recent addition is George C. Brooks Hall, set to open for the fall semester. The UM System Board of Curators approved the hall name in December, according to previous Maneater reporting. A Columbia native, Brooks was a director of the Financial Aid office and pushed for desegregation in the community and university, in addition to being one of the first African-American administrators on campus.

The Maneater Projects Department is looking back at past pieces in a series called “Project of the Week.” The aim of this new series is to highlight past projects that are both relevant and impactful to this day. We hope you take the time to look back at the hard work and careful reporting of past Maneater staffers. Happy reading!

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