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Workers remove Middleton name from LSU library after Board of Supervisors vote

3 years 8 months 5 days ago Friday, June 19 2020 Jun 19, 2020 June 19, 2020 7:28 AM June 19, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - After a roughly hour-long discussion, the LSU Board of Supervisors voted to strip Troy H. Middleton's name from the university library Friday. The vote was unanimous among members of the board's Academic and Research Committee, and that motion was approved by the board.

Workers had already removed the name removed from the front and back of the building by 3 o'clock. A plaque honoring Middleton was also removed from the front entrance. 

The debate came a little more than a week after administrators and black student leaders announced the item would be given to the board for consideration. LSU President Thomas Galligan supported the students, who were credited with starting the renewed effort to remove the name from the building.

Troy Middleton, LSU's president in the 50s and 60s, has been widely recognized as racist in years past after a decades-old letter resurfaced in which he voiced his support of racial segregation.

James Williams, a member of the university's board, was one of the most vocal in support of the decision to remove the name.

"I read in our archives a letter from General Middleton on May 1, 1956 saying, 'I do not want negro students in LSU, I believe in segregation of the races, and no matter what may come I shall not associate with negroes...'" Williams recalled. "And, without exaggeration, I gagged. I physically gagged."

Public outcry for the renaming of the library occurred shortly after Drew Dollar, an incoming LSU freshmen, appeared in a viral video that features him using a racial slur against African Americans.

As the video gained notoriety, LSU quickly spoke out to condemn the student's behavior, but remained silent on whether or not the student had been disciplined or would still be allowed to attend the university. 

After meeting with black students and community members regarding LSU's stance on racist behavior and hate speech, the university announced that Dollar would not be attending classes in the Fall and that based on what was discussed in the recent meeting, they felt it necessary to consider renaming Middleton Library in order to firmly establish the university's intolerance of racism and prejudice. 

The Middleton family, however, spoke out against LSU's decision to consider a new name for the building, issuing the following statement to The Advocate a day after the announcement: 

"General Troy Middleton was an American hero and Louisiana icon. We expressly and unequivocally denounce the university's dishonorable plan to remove his name and memorials from the very library the funds for which he led the university's effort to obtain from the state legislature." 

The committee that chooses the library's new name will also evaluate any other questionable designations of university buildings.

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