Students for a Democratic Society have been engaged in an ongoing discussion with Marshall administrators, students and the Huntington community about potentially changing the name of Marshall University’s Jenkins Hall. The discussion continued Thursday, Sept. 27 in Harris Hall.
Jenkins Hall is named after Albert Jenkins, a brigadier general of the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
SDS brought this issue to administrators on campus because members said they do not want Jenkins’ likeness to be memorialized or honored. John Ross, president of SDS, said being a Confederate general is enough to judge Jenkins’ character. He said Jenkins was a “particularly despicable person.
“It is important to talk about it, but beyond that there is no need to memorialize him in that building,” Ross said.
Jenkins Hall is home to the College of Education and where education majors such as junior Brianna Baker attend classes.
”I’m an education major and I’m black, so it [Jenkins Hall] reflects me as far as being a black student here on campus,” Baker said. “I don’t feel like my building, as an education major, represents who I am. If I’m reflecting the education building it is like I am supporting it, [the confederacy] but I’m not.”
Other students who attended the meeting said they agreed with Baker saying the school should be representative of them.
“Where you go, when you’re going to school, that represents somewhat about who you are,” Scoot Cooper, a sophomore digital forensics major, said.
The previous SDS meeting was also open to community members to discuss their thought on this issue. Ross said this meeting became controversial when a member of the community called the SDS group domestic terrorists.
“I think it is ridiculous,” Ross said. “I don’t feel like I terrorize anyone.”
He said it is an important conversation to have but said he does not feel he is advocating for anything ridiculous.
“This is a unifying issue that, although a lot of people around here don’t believe in, is still a very important conversation to have,” Ross said.
Ross said Marshall is a progressive center, and it is important to push this organization’s message about renaming Jenkins Hall. He said deliberation on this issue will continue as the university has created a panel of administrators to talk to SDS.
Meg Keller can be contacted at [email protected]