ECU committee meets to discuss renaming of campus buildings

Greenville

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — East Carolina University trustees want a special committee they set up to take a bigger look at the names of all campus buildings.

The Ad Hoc Naming Committee has already presented suggestions to rename five buildings because some of the people honored have ties to white supremacy or racial discrimination.

“Our response as a committee is that we stand by the professional level of work done by the historians that we have relied upon,” said Dr. Gerald Prokopowicz, Renaming Committee chairman.

Those historians are looking at the backgrounds of people who have their names on ECU buildings. Some played key roles in North Carolina and Eastern North Carolina. But they also had beliefs that are now socially unacceptable, like support for white supremacy.

“Is there a way to remember the person in a different way? ECU has already done that, we created Heritage Hall,” Prokopowicz said.

Heritage Hall is devoted to ECU’s history, aimed at looking at the good and the bad. The committee already suggested renaming four buildings.

“The board did not accept or reject. They simply said, we will talk about it again,” said Prokopowicz.

Trustees also want standards for the committee to follow as it reviews all campus building names. Some panel members want more than that.

“How can we move forward evaluating the rest of the other buildings until we have the standards one … and then when we do have the standards, if we don’t agree with them what will our options be?” said Morgan Fried, a committee member.

ECU trustees will discuss this more in late March. For now, the naming committee plans to stand by its process in researching the history behind campus names.

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