SGA votes unanimously to recommend renaming Bibb Graves Hall

The SGA Student Senate voted unanimously over their retreat to rename Bibb Graves Hall. (Scott Young/The Chanticleer)The SGA Student Senate voted unanimously over their retreat to rename Bibb Graves Hall. (Scott Young/The Chanticleer)

Logan Irwin, Correspondent

The Jacksonville State University Student Government Association Senate voted unanimously on Monday, August 3, 2020 to recommend changing the name of Bibb Graves Hall.

The SGA put forward this plan “in hopes of finding a new name that better represents Jacksonville State University’s beliefs and values.”

Bibb Graves Hall is named after the former governor of Alabama, Bibb Graves, who served two terms in the state from 1927 to 1931, and 1935 to 1939. Graves also served high up as a leader in the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan.

The building is located in the center of campus and home to many important offices for students and student life on campus. It was built in 1930, making it one of the oldest buildings at JSU, according to The Encyclopedia of Alabama. 

Graves was known as a segregationist that put policies in place which reflected his support for the segregation of races in the South. 

The SGA’s resolution included a list of policies that became law or were maintained under Grave’s governorship, including the “Division of Negro Education” which was enacted to “oversee Black American segregated schools.“

“Six lynchings of African Americans took place during the time that Gov. Bibb Graves served as a member in the KKK,” the resolution reads. “While he served his terms as governor, seven confirmed lynchings took place in the state of Alabama.”

Asked how he felt about how he believed the resolution plan would play out, SGA President Jerod Sharp said, “I believe any resolution plan has the best chance of succeeding when it is thoroughly planned out and backed up with factual evidence, rather than emotional feelings. We must convince others through facts, evidence, and research that supports the climate our world is currently in. I believe it has a strong chance of being passed.”

To rededicate the building, the SGA stated that they will follow the order that is presented within the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017. The resolution includes that the rededication shall be supported by the student body, supported by university administration, and supported by the state of Alabama. 

The SGA has also put together a plan to help aid the university and its students with different ways to begin considering a new name for the building.

An online petition supporting the renaming of Bibb Graves Hall garnered over 3,000 signatures in the summer. The petition itself suggests renaming the building after Mrs. Barbara Crook-Storey, who was the first African American student admitted to JSU in 1969. 

Asked about a possible new name for the building, Sharp said, “We have a few name options up in the air. One of those being for Mrs. Barbara Crook-Storey who is mentioned in the online petition. Another possible option would be moving over the name of Daugette Hall, (currently home to Veteran’s Services) which is named after Jacksonville State’s third president, Mr. Clarence William Daugette. He brought Jacksonville State through The Great Depression, WWI, and caused a lot of vital and fundamental things to happen in desperate times.”

In other business, the Senate:

— Approved a bill to amend Chapter 400 of the SGA Code to: “The Student Judiciary Panel shall be made up of a minimum of three (3) at-large members of the student body who are not already elected or appointed officers within the SGA.”

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