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Ohio State University Senate Votes To Rename Hall Named For Former Governor

 Bricker Hall on the campus of Ohio State University.
Kevin Payravi
Wikimedia Commons
Bricker Hall on the campus of Ohio State University.

Ohio State University’s Senate has voted to remove the name of John Bricker from a building on campus.

Bricker was an Ohio Attorney General, governor and U.S. Senator. He was also an alum of the school and served on its board of trustees.

Ohio State student body president Roaya Higazi says that, while Bricker was a prominent Ohioan, one part of his history is disqualifying.

“Through his role as attorney general of Ohio, he actually defended Ohio State’s tradition of separate but equal, which ended up in resulting that Black students were barred from continuing with their education,” she says.

Higazi says having a building named after him doesn’t align with the university’s values or its commitment to Black students.

“There are incredibly amazing people who have come through Ohio State without a history or legacy of segregation,” she says. “Our university has the opportunity to honor folks that have positively contributed to the university in many ways without actively harming marginalized communities.”

The student government approved the resolution at the beginning of the month, and the school’s senate, which includes faculty and staff, approved it Thursday.

The resolution will now be taken up by the university's board of trustees.

“Hopefully that’s something that the university can take action on in order to actual move forward with the unnaming process,” Higazi says.

In an email, a university spokesman wrote, "Ohio State is aligned with USG and University Senate in our shared interest of supporting racial justice and equity. The university is finalizing a comprehensive process for evaluating building names and is committed to building an inclusive, anti-racist community."

He said the school's Task Force on Racism and Racial Inequitiesleads the initiative.

The senate passed another resolution as well, to standardize the re-naming process across campus.

“This is the best time for the university, now that we’ve started this conversation, to start evaluating honorific namings across the board,” Higazi says. “Not just our buildings but our entities and our scholarships and endowments and all of these things, and really take a closer look at who we are choosing to honor as a university.”

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.