Ten months after Florida State vowed to consider renaming Doak Campbell Stadium because of the former school president’s anti-integration history, a university taskforce provided one answer: The name should not be changed.
That 12-7 vote was the headline from Wednesday’s meeting of the president’s task force on anti-racism, equity and inclusion. The decision and issue were complicated.
Campbell’s views on race resurfaced over the summer during the nationwide conversations sparked by the death of George Floyd. Former linebacker Kendrick Scott started a petition asking for Campbell’s name to be taken off the stadium.
An FSU subcommittee focused on historical legacy previously deadlocked 3-3 on whether to recommend removing Campbell’s name from the stadium because of his racial history. During Campbell’s time as university president (1941-57), he resisted integration. In 1957, according to a Palm Beach Post-Times story, FSU forced out a graduate student “for bringing three Negro students to a Christmas party on the campus.”
That was the backdrop for Wednesday’s meeting. The task force spent 80 minutes discussing the school’s famed stadium. Most of the time focused on procedural issues, with little discussion about the name itself.
“I see fit that we should be looking more to who we are now as a university as opposed to what we were as a university,” task force member Cortez Brown said during the meeting.
The group did approve a recommendation to add “high-profile” recognition at the stadium for the contributions of Black and other minority students.
That recommendation and more than two dozen others will be sent to FSU President John Thrasher by Friday. His response is expected several weeks later.
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