University of Arkansas Chancellor recommends relocation of Fulbright statue, other measures after committee review

Northwest Arkansas News

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — University of Arkansas Chancellor Joe Steinmetz announced Wednesday, May 19 that he recommends the statue of Senator J. William Fulbright be moved from its place at Old Main and the Brough Food Commons building be renamed.

Last year, the university formed a committee to review the place of J. William Fulbright and Charles Hilman Brough’s names and likenesses on campus.

In April, the committee made three recommendations to the Chancellor:

  • Charles Brough’s name should be removed from Brough Commons.
  • William Fulbright statue should be removed from its location outside Old Main.
  • Fulbright name should be removed from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Chancellor Steinmetz went on to assess the recommendations himself before offering an official recommendation to the U of A’s board of trustees.

“Since the committee released its recommendations, I have received much additional feedback and have considered additional input and perspectives from a range of university stakeholders,” Steinmetz said in a letter to the President of the university. “I have heard from students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university, and have had lengthy discussions on this matter with every member of my executive committee, our academic deans and some other university administrators, you, and members of the Board of Trustees.”

The Chancellor made three final recommendations to the President in his letter:

  • Remove Brough’s name from the Commons.
  • Allow the Fulbright name to remain on the U of A’s College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Move the Fulbright statue to another appropriate campus location.

“Ultimately, the goal and desire is to create a healthy dialogue, to minimize hurt feelings, and challenge false dichotomies – that you are either against Fulbright and Brough or else you are a racist,” Steinmetz said. “It is just more complicated than that.”

The recommendations come as the University of Arkansas celebrates its 150th anniversary.

“We can’t change the past, but we can adjust our relationship to it as necessary. And we can ensure that those who enter the university can do so with a greater sense of welcome, belonging and inclusivity,” Steinmetz said, closing his letter to U of A President Donald R. Bobbitt. ” This is our basic responsibility to our campus community, and I look forward to implementing these and other ideas in the future.”

While the Board of Trustees considers the Chancellor’s recommendations, there is not yet any official plan to make any of the recommended changes at the University of Arkansas.

Read the full letter here.

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