Law Students, Alumni Start Petition To Replace Name On TU Building

Wednesday, May 4th 2016, 11:12 pm

By: News On 6

The University of Tulsa Board of trustees voted to remove the name of John Rogers from the TU College of Law Building.

The decision comes after TU became aware of Rogers' involvement with the KKK.

TU said Wednesday's action by the board does not alter or attempt to rewrite history; rather it represents the best efforts to objectively examine the life of John Rogers in its entirety.

Rogers denounced the Klan within two years of joining because he objected to its focus on violence, but some law students said, had the name stayed, it could have deterred future students.

5/4/2016 Related Story: TU Trustees Vote To Remove Law School Founder's Name Due To KKK Ties

The university said it will put up a plaque inside the law school building memorializing Rogers and his many significant and long-lasting contributions to TU.

But with the name to be removed, a group of TU law students and alumni already has a suggestion for a new name.

Hundreds signed a petition to rename the building after a prominent TU law professor who died earlier this year.

More than 250 people want the trustees to know they think the name G. William Rice should replace Rogers.

John Andrew graduated from TU Law School in May. He took two classes taught Rice and said they transformed his law school experience.

So, when Andrew saw an online petition to rename the former John Rogers building, he jumped on board.

"It was to put Professor Rice's name – G. William Rice - as the name of the law school, which I thought was a crazy excellent idea," he said.

Rice served as co-director of TU's Native American Law Center from 2004 until his death in February.

Experts remember him as a trailblazer for local Native Americans' legal rights; and Andrew believes his name would better serve the law school.

Even though the Historical Society says Rogers denounced the local KKK chapter he founded within two years and worked to integrate the law school, Andrew said his name doesn't reflect diversity, like Rice does.

"I think the school is very smart to consider a different name for the law school, and I would hope they consider Professor Rice's name because he's somebody who touched my life, and many lives, and was a mentor," he said.

Supporters will deliver the petition to TU's president and board of trustees.

You can read more about the decision and the petition by visiting our partner The Frontier's website.


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