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IU president will recommend removal of former president Jordan’s name from Bloomington campus

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Indiana University President Michael McRobbie will recommend that former IU president David Starr Jordan’s name be removed from campus, according to a press release from the university.

McRobbie intends to make his recommendation during an Oct. 2 Indiana University Board of Trustees meeting.

David Starr Jordan served as the university’s president from 1885 until 1891. According to a 60-page report from the Jordan Committee released Thursday by McRobbie, Jordan was “described as a ‘kingpin’ of the eugenics movement” and a “vocal advocate for white supremacy.” Eugenics is a philosophical and social movement that encourages humans to reproduce through selective breeding.

Jordan also served as a professor of zoology at the university from 1875 to 1885. He later went on to become Stanford University’s first president.

McRobbie’s recommendations will include the following changes to campus spaces:

  • Jordan Hall to be named the Biology Building
  • Jordan Avenue Parking Garage to be named the East Parking Garage
  • Jordan River to be named Campus River

McRobbie will also recommend IU’s University Naming Committee work with the City of Bloomington on changing the name of Jordan Avenue.

“As the Jordan Committee’s exhaustive report indicates, David Starr Jordan was a complex and complicated figure, who was influential in higher education and at IU, where he was a highly accomplished and forward-looking president,” McRobbie said in a press release posted on the university’s website. “But he was also at the forefront of the American eugenics movement, and some of the beliefs he espoused in his writings, especially those concerning people he regarded as unworthy or undesirable, make for extremely troubling reading.”

The Jordan Committee, which consists of six senior IU faculty members, was appointed by McRobbie to collect and assess a vast amount of Jordan’s research and writing as well as other materials related to Jordan in an effort to decide the future of his namesake on campus.

IU’s provost and campus chancellors were asked in July to begin reviewing named spaces on all of IU’s campuses in an effort to identify any conflicts to the university’s fundamental values.

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