At IU-Bloomington: A push to sever ties with a long ago school president

David Starr Jordan's name could be removed
Jordan Hall.PNG
Posted at 9:22 PM, Jul 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-07 21:37:41-04

BLOOMINGTON — One doesn't have to look far to find something on the IU-Bloomington campus named for David Starr Jordan. There's Jordan Hall, the Jordan River, Jordan Avenue, even the Jordan Parking Garage.

That may not be for long. IU President Michael McRobbie has appointed a committee to decide whether Jordan's name stays.

Who was David Starr Jordan? He came to IU in 1875 and spent 10-years as a professor of zoology. In 1885 Jordan was named university president and served until 1891 when he accepted the presidency of Stanford University in California.

At both schools, Jordan expressed views considered racist, including support of racial segregation.

His statements and views have come under particular scrutiny and criticism recently. In fact, a movement is underway at Stanford to remove Jordan's name from the Department of Psychology Building. Psychology professors recently voted unanimously to request the name change.

In Bloomington, the six-member committee will report back to McRobbie by September 1. "In my report to the Indiana University Board of Trustees at their meeting on June 12, 2020, I announced that I would be asking the University Naming Committee to begin a systematic review of all named building or structures on all campuses of Indiana University with the goal of trying to identify any of these where the person after whom these buildings or structures are named has been found to have held views in statements, writings or publicly, inimical to the fundamental values of the university and where there is a case for considering the removal of their present names," McRobbie said.

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In addition to the buildings and the Jordan River, the committee will decide whether to keep Jordan's name on any scholarships, fellowships or other awards that bear his name.