A topic buzzing around the campus of Oklahoma State University — should OSU remove from a building the name William H. Murray, the governor from 1931 to 1935 who wrote large portions of the Oklahoma Constitution and was reportedly a well-known bigot?
A forum was held in October during which Dr. Randi Eldevik, an associate professor of English, and Dr. Bill Bryans, an associate professor of history, both of OSU, debated the topic. The Arts and Sciences Faculty Council sent a recommendation to interim OSU President Marlene Strathe about removing the name of Murray Hall. “He was really head and shoulders above the other racists and bigots,” Eldevik said. “He was just the worst of the worst.”
Preserving history is Bryans’ main argument, or at least learning about the issue before taking action. “I think this is a great educational opportunity,” Bryans said. “I am not necessarily against removing the name from the building. This is a great opportunity to deal with our past.” On the other hand, some professors are looking more toward the future than dwelling on the past. “The issue shouldn’t really be about Murray,” said Dr. Jason Kirksey, an associate professor of political science.
“The issue should be about the university and how the university wants to be perceived from this point forward.”
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