Miranda Prescott, News Editor
The JSU Faculty Senate voted in their first formal meeting of the semester on Monday to approve a resolution calling for Bibb Graves Hall to be renamed.
“The resolution for renaming Bibb Graves Hall actually started in the SGA Senate,” said Russell Hammack, the Faculty Senate president. “I’m very proud of the work SGA has done, and I think it speaks volumes that this resolution was passed in the Faculty Senate with unanimous consent.”
The SGA resolution, which passed the SGA Senate unanimously in August, reads that Bibb Graves Hall should be renamed after “another individual who aligns with the morals and values of Jacksonville State University.” Bibb Graves was a grand cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan and maintained many ideas that reflected his support of segregation during his time as governor.
“I’m not sure what the process will be if a name change goes in effect for Bibb Graves Hall,” said Hammack. “However, if a name change does occur, I’m sure whatever university committee meets to make a recommendation, the person will probably be a prominent JSU person with a rich tradition that embodies the university.”
Calls for Bibb Graves Hall to be renamed began to grow over the summer after an online petition circulated on social media asking that the administrative building be named after Barbara Curry-Storey, a 1969 JSU graduate and the first Black student to be enrolled at JSU. The petition garnered over 3,000 signatures.
“I’m honored to have had the opportunity to set this in motion, but simply changing the name of a building will not end racism,” said Matthew Reeves, a JSU alumnus who started the online petition. “I am extremely proud of the students and faculty at JSU for having these important conversations that could truly enact change on our beloved campus!”
SGA President Jerod Sharp said that the co-sponsored resolution will be brought to the Board of Trustees during their meeting in October. If passed, the Student Task Force will assemble optional names for the administrative building on campus and allow the student body to vote on these options. Once that choice has been made, it will once again go in front of the Board of Trustees for approval.
“Of course, if the Board votes down the resolution then the process will be disrupted,” said Sharp.
The resolution passed in the Faculty Senate with only one abstaining vote. This came from a new faculty senator who was not able to acquire the resolution before the meeting. The rest of the senators did vote unanimously on the matter.
“I am beyond thrilled that this resolution not only passed through the Faculty Senate but passed unanimously at that,” said Sharp. “I think it really shows the solidarity behind this effort — that both the student representation and the faculty representation have approved this passage. I think it also speaks volumes to the direction that this university is headed.”
The process to rename the building will follow in accordance with the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act that passed in 2017. This Act outlines specific guidelines that need to be taken by universities when renaming buildings that have been standing for 40 years or more. Failure to follow these guidelines and rename the building without the approval from the state could result in a fine of $25,000 for the university.
Sharp believes that the SGA and Student Task Force has followed the Act appropriately.
“We are trying our very best to do this as lawfully possible and keep the university from being fined $25,000,” said Sharp. “In the end, that would be money taken away from the students at JSU and we do not want this. My hope is that we are granted this since our efforts have 100% been in correlation with this Act.”