A new Renaming Principles Committee, tasked with creating guidelines for the renaming of campus buildings and sites, was appointed by University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne earlier this month. The committee will be be chaired by Paul Brest, professor emeritus at Stanford Law School.
In a “Notes on the Quad” blog post released Thursday, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne announced that two new committees will replace the Advisory Committee on the Use of Historical Names on Campus, which reached an apparent stalemate in its attempts to formulate principles for renaming campus buildings and landmarks.
The students convened in the courtyard outside of Serra house in Stern Hall and walked down Galvez Mall to President Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s office in the Main Quad, where they presented letters of discontent to administrators.
In March of last year, the ASSU Undergraduate Senate and Graduate Student Council passed a resolution requesting that the University rename all places on campus that bear the name of Junipero Serra, the Spanish missionary who created and led the California mission system. At a Faculty Senate meeting that same month, former President John Hennessy…
Evidence that Stanford’s founding president David Starr Jordan, as well as former professors Lewis M. Terman and Elwood P. Cubberley, were active supporters of the eugenics movement have resurfaced amid recent efforts to rename schools in the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD).
A student at a Catholic high school once asked me, if a cure were found years later for a miracle attributed to a saint, would the Catholic Church strip him or her of the title? The fact that we know something today does not change the fact that it was a very real miracle for those who experienced it at the time — miracles are tested against the natural or scientific laws of the day. This example, I believe, gets to the heart of the ASSU Undergraduate Senate’s request to cleanse Stanford of the name Junípero Serra. A slippery slope is created when the past is judged based on current values. A brief history lesson may be useful for those interested in what the ASSU Undergraduate Senate is attempting to do.