Oklahoma State University will remove the name of segregationist and the state’s ninth governor, William H. “Alfalfa Bill” Murray, from campus.
The decision by the university’s board came after president Burns Hargis wrote to the board last week requesting the removal of the name from the campus’ Murray Hall and North Murray Hall. Hargis said that Murray was an advocate for racist policies including segregation and the promotion of Jim Crow laws.
“For many on our campus, the building’s name has invoked reminders of this painful history,” Hargis said in his request. “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.”
The process to remove Murray’s name began last year, Hargis said. The proposal to remove the name was supported by many students, faculty, staff and alumni.
“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),” he said. Two subsequent committees of campus leaders supported the resolution and more than 5,000 people signed a petition to remove Murray’s name.
Board members told Stillwater News Press they are proud of the process that resulted in the decision to remove the name.
“It has been reasoned, reasonable and deliberate and it has been extremely inclusive all across the campus,” board chair Tucker Link said. “It is absolutely the right thing to do and I commend the committees and President (Burns) Hargis for bringing it forward.”