We’re still waiting for a seat at the table

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United Campus Workers of Alabama

Late last month, United Campus Workers of Alabama (UCW) demanded that the University of Alabama System appoint faculty, staff and students from each campus as full members on the Building Name Review Committee to ensure transparency. 

The UA System failed to do so.

UCW also requested public hearings and a commitment to execute all recommended name changes by Jan. 15. 

The UA system failed to commit to either.

Though we applaud the removal of Josiah C. Nott’s name from a UA building, we are outraged that the Board refused to rename the building after Black Alabamians who contributed to the University and/or the State of Alabama.

Naming the building “Honors Hall” is a slap in the face to Black Alabamians who have made a difference. The academic Honors system has historically excluded Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. Not only did the Board of Trustees ignore names suggested by UA historians, but decided to change the building’s name before a completed campus-wide name-suggestion survey, commissioned by the UA Faculty Senate, could be published.

We continue to emphasize that the research on named buildings at UA has already been completed by prominent members of the community. UA historian and professor Hilary Green’s Hallowed Grounds Project and her Race, Memory, Identity project provide detailed historical documentation related to the use of enslaved people, building names and plaques on the main UA campus. Al Brophy’s foundation work, “University, Court and Slave” and other scholarly works have addressed these building namesakes, as had James Sellers, several Crimson White journalists and other campus chroniclers. Faculty expertise can help make the committee’s work more efficient if consulted.

In addition to asking that the Board of Trustees immediately meet our four demands published last month, we demand that Nott Hall be renamed after one of the people listed in the guide below.

UCW Local 3965 is the University of Alabama’s chapter of the United Campus Workers of Alabama. You can reach them at alabama@ucw-cwa.org