LSU promises change, announces plans to rename Middleton Library for racial justice
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana State University has come under fire for its response to viral videos of an incoming freshman and sophomore using racial slurs in reference to African Americans.
When footage of incoming freshman, Drew Dollar shouting an offensive racial slur was made public by actress/activist Skai Jackson on her Twitter account, the University responded by condemning Dollar's speech, but taking no real action against the prospective student.
Similarly, when other twitter users revealed LSU sophomore Gavin Reynolds' history of using racial slurs online, the University did not appear to take any action against Reynolds.
On Tuesday, a group of concerned student leaders met with university officials about LSU's seeming lack of response.
Though the university has yet to reveal what specific action it will take as a result of the meetings, members of "Blackout LSU" say they feel the discussion was "progressive and hopeful."
The sophomore accused of using racial slurs, has since announced that he will no longer be attending the University.
“The only thing I wish to say is that I’ve learned a valuable lesson in sensitivity to others,” Reynolds said. “I know that this has been a wake up call for me and I’ve matured even more since this literally and figuratively juvenile post and I have been seeking to educate myself. My deepest apologies to anyone I’ve offended.”
Black student leaders expressed decades of uneasiness surrounding racial injustice on campus, including buildings named in honor of 'racists', with LSU leadership on Monday, June 8.
The university held a news conference with members of the LSU Black Student Leadership group Wednesday, June 10, to address the issues.
During the conference, student leaders announced plans for the university to rename Middleton Library. Those plans are pending approval from the board, in addition to renaming other buildings in question.
LSU opened the library in October of 1959 and named it after Middleton in 1979.
Troy Middleton, LSU's President in the '50s and '60s, became widely recognized as a racist after writing a letter to former University of Texas Chancellor Harry Ransom in 1961 that said LSU still confined black students to a "given area," The Advocate reports.
Other changes are being discussed, like a hotline for black students dealing with mental health issues.
"Work is being done, history is being made," a member of the Black Student Leadership group said during the news conference.
Interim President Tom Galligan said they are "inspired to make meaningful change today."
"We also committed to take concrete steps to increase faculty and staff of color," Galligan said.
He says the university plans to investigate racial issues reported and take action immediately.
"This is a great day, this is a positive change, and action speaks louder than words," Galligan said.
The board of supervisors will meet next week to review the decision to rename Middleton Library, remove the bust, and reconsider the names of other dedicated buildings on campus.
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