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Little support for name change of MU building

November 29, 2018

Astory in The Herald-Dispatch on Saturday regarding an upcoming meeting of the Marshall University Presidential Committee to Examine Building Names sparked numerous comments from online readers of the newspaper.

The public meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, in Room BE-5 of the Memorial Student Center on the Huntington campus, will include a presentation about the committee and its purpose; historical information about Gen. Albert Gallatin Jenkins and the naming of Jenkins Hall; comments from representatives of various Marshall University student organizations and others; and an overview of the committee’s process for soliciting public comment on the matter next month.

Marshall President Jerome Gilbert formed the committee in April in response to a student’s inquiry about the 1937 naming of the university’s Jenkins Hall for a Confederate Civil War general, Albert Gallatin Jenkins, who owned slaves on his farm along W.Va. 2. A group called Students for a Democratic Society at Marshall has led a recent push to rename the building. Here are some comments from readers:

Brandon Ray Kirk: “If we are changing the name of things based on slavery, here’s an important note: John Marshall owned slaves. Prepare to eventually see your university renamed. For those who do not know, a large statue of John Marshall stands near Old Main. (Please don’t tear it down!) Let’s go a bit further: William H. Cabell, namesake for your county, likewise owned slaves. If we are changing the names of things based on persons who fought against the U.S. government, we better erase all things named for First Americans, France, Germany, England, and Spain (just to name a few).

David Morris: “Find something else to worry about.”

Ashby Kave: Agreed!

Becky Baldwin: “I’m an MU alum. It’s not the name of a building, or anything about the structure, but what you learn inside the walls that matters.”

Glyn Ellen Smith Halsey: “It’s part of the history.

Leave it alone or transfer to another school.”

Joyce Martin Jordan: “Leave things alone! These complainers need to worry about finishing school & getting a job! Put their bright minds into feeding the poor or take care of our veterans! Leave these names & statues alone! I’m shocked the university would even consider this! Surely there are more important things to put your efforts into!”

Pat Sharp: “Those that forget history are destined to repeat history.”

Mike Perry: “So are we changing the name of the university, also considering John Marshall was also a slave owner?”

Deana Nida Kincade: “Don’t start it ... it will become a never ending problem. Leave it alone!”

Jeffrey A. Ward: “Ridiculous.”

Cheri Potter Morris: “Those complaining will move on and not be here anymore soon. ... History can’t be changed and changing the name won’t change who it was named after. Grow up kids and move on!”

Joab Dellinger: “I’m trying to remember if I even went into Jenkins Hall when I was a student. My level of care what a random building from my college years is called is ZERO. Open up bidding to the highest donor and make some $$$$ & slap their name on it. That’s how it works nowadays anyway.”

Nikki Bailey: “Do not give in, do not destroy our culture, our history.”

Cheri Potter Morris: “The committee needs to drop all this nonsense. Finals are coming up and these kids should be studying.”

Greg Bunner: “Please don’t allow ‘feelings’ to alter our university. If any of those who are protesting the name of Jenkins hall was a slave or a student at Marshall in 1937, we’ll listen. If not, let’s move along as things are.”

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