A former University of Texas law professor is challenging the school to change the name of a dorm that is ordained after Ku Klux Klan organizer William Simkins -- but the school is not having it.
Thomas Russell, now a professor at the University of Denver, began researching Simkins while at Texas. His findings show that Simkins, who taught law at UT from 1899 to 1929, "advocated his Klan past to Texas students" and was "explicitly concerned with the sexual defense of white women."
According to KXAN-Austin, the university has taken Russell's discoveries with a very small grain of salt and has no plans to change the building's name. They report:
UT officials with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement said Russell's research is not new to them.
"Simkins' affiliation with the Klan is deplorable and offensive, that is true," said the division's Associate Director of Communications Leslie Blair. "And although he was not memorialized with his name on a building until 1954, The University of Texas has since moved on."
The renaming of the building would require involvement from the Board of Regents, Blair said.
"To rename the building would set a huge precedent--one that could end up costing a great deal of money and time," Blair said. "We feel that a better use of our time and money would be to continue to recruit and to provide programs that support more students, faculty and staff from populations underrepresented at the University and to further a climate of inclusiveness and cultural diversity that looks to the future instead of dwelling on the past."
UT Vice President of Diversity and Community Engagement Gregory Vincent told KXAN that the issue is "moot" because the school plans to eventually raze to the dorm, though he could not provide a timeline for the destruction.
In the campus newspaper the Daily Texan, the editorial board opined that "it seems entirely reasonable to dishonor such a dishonorable man."
What do you think? Should the school change the dorm's name? Or is Russell making a big deal out of a small issue?
WATCH: KXAN's report on the issue.