STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State University A&M Board of Regents voted to change the name of buildings on campus named after a historically racist former Oklahoma governor.
Recently, OSU President Burns Hargis sent the following statement to the board:
On behalf of Oklahoma State University, I am formally requesting that the OSU/A&M Board of Regents include on its June 19 meeting agenda a vote to remove the name “Murray” from Murray Hall and North Murray Hall on OSU’s campus. My request is based on the history cited by many on our campus that the building’s namesake, Oklahoma’s ninth Governor William H. “Alfalfa Bill” Murray, had a record of advocacy for racist policies including segregation and the promotion of Jim Crow laws, which in effect stripped many Black Oklahomans of their constitutional right to vote.PRESIDENT BURNS HARGIS
For many in the OSU family, the building’s name has invoked reminders of this painful past. Oklahoma State is committed to eliminating systemic racism and embracing our responsibility as a university to support solutions to the inequality and injustice our country and community faces.
To remove the name, a process is being followed for un-naming campus buildings, which was adopted by The Board of Regents more than a year ago. The process has allowed for a thorough, deliberate and inclusive review, which began last fall and resulted in a resolution this spring from the Student Government Association (SGA). Two subsequent committees of campus leaders supported the resolution, leading us to the point of my recommendation today.
I appreciate the leadership demonstrated by the many on our campus who have come forward in support of the name removal, including students, faculty, staff and alumni groups and the more than 5,000 individuals who have signed a Change.org petition regarding the building’s name.
I am confident in the Regents and trust the considerate treatment they will demonstrate as they address this issue at Friday’s meeting.
Board of Regents Chair Tucker Link sent the following response to Hargis:
We hear the voices of the many students, alumni, faculty members and administrators who have called for the removal of the name “Murray Hall” from Stillwater’s campus. The hall was named after Oklahoma Governor William H. “Alfalfa Bill” Murray, whose racist views were extreme and a reflection of those times, which included support for segregation. The history associated with this building’s namesake has hurt many and is not consistent with our values of equality and justice for all.
The Board of Regents supports OSU students, alumni, faculty members and administrators, who have called for action. This Friday, the building’s un-naming will be on our agenda.
We praise the leadership demonstrated by the many groups and individuals who have called for the name’s removal. A deliberate, inclusive process was followed, resulting in the Student Government Association (SGA) putting forth a resolution. The resolution was unanimously approved by The Policy Review Committee that included representatives from SGA, faculty, staff and alumni. President Hargis then shared this resolution with The Board, along with his recommendation to consider and vote it into action, which we fully intend to do.
Murray was the 9th Governor of Oklahoma from 1931-1935.
According to the Stillwater News Press, the board unanimously approved the removal of Murray’s name on buildings on campus.