Three UNC Trustees Voted Against Renaming Building That Commemorates KKK Leader

A student protest outside the erstwhile Saunders Hall in February 2015. (Screen shot/ABC 11)
A student protest outside the erstwhile Saunders Hall in February 2015. (Screen shot/ABC 11)
A student protest outside the erstwhile Saunders Hall in February 2015. (Screen shot/ABC 11)

(Slate) – The University of North Carolina’s trustees voted Thursday to rename the campus’ Saunders Hall. The building was originally dedicated to the memory of a man named William L. Saunders for a number of reasons, one of which in particular is no longer considered a good reason to name a building after someone. Per the school’s press release:

In 1920, University trustees named Saunders Hall to recognize William L. Saunders, an alumnus and trustee from 1874 to 1891. They cited his service as North Carolina’s Secretary of State from 1879 to 1891, his record as a compiler and editor of the Colonial records that became the foundation of the current State Archives of North Carolina, and his leadership of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

The issue was brought to public attention by student activists, and the building will now be called Carolina Hall, which, while not the most creative choice, has the advantage of not commemorating “the chief organizer of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina and Chapel Hill.”

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