The long saga over the name of Florida State’s football stadium had reached a conclusion: Doak Campbell’s name will remain emblazoned on it
From Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat:
A presidential task force addressing anti-racism, equity and inclusion at Florida State University voted Wednesday afternoon against removing Doak Campbell’s name from the football stadium.
The vote was 12-7 to keep the name.
The full task force overruled a recommendation by the Historical Legacy Subcommittee to remove Campbell’s name from the stadium. They had deadlocked earlier on the issue in a 3-3 vote.
The full panel also voted to recommend that the university and the Athletics Department institute a “high-profile” recognition of black and other underrepresented minority student athletes at the stadium.
“To single out one person because of what he didn’t do, (and) I’m not sure what we expected him to do, even though based on the research I’ve done, he also worked behind the scenes (to address race relations),” FSU history professor and subcommittee chair Maxine Jones, who recommended keeping the name, said to the Democrat previously.
“I think for us to nitpick and say he supported a (segregationist) system, then we need to remove every name on every building, not just on campus, but downtown as well.”
“I think there is something ironically cruel about a majority-Black athletic team performing and bringing in money to the institution under the name of someone who upheld a system where they would never have even played one game,” Miles Feacher, a recent FSU grad who was a major proponent in starting the conversation for a name change, said.
FSU basketball players Malik Osbourne voted against changing the name, telling the Democrat he found “a lack of racist actions” and “multiple examples of support of students, including students at FAMU, and the FAMU president” presented in information from Jones.
Original story, published June 2020
Florida State president John Thrasher announced today in a statement that he has designated athletic director David Coburn to explore options for renaming FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium:
This is not the university’s first go-around with removing names determined to hold a dark past — the school has moved on from several racist and insensitive portrayals of Seminoles in the past, as well as President John Thrasher removing the names of Francis Eppes and B.K. Roberts from campus following the establishment of a board (formed in the aftermath of the Charlottesville white supremacist rally) intended “to examine and make recommendations on current university policies concerning campus names and markers, including statues and other recognitions.”
Along with an online movement, a petition has circulated online asking for the name change, given Doak Campbell’s history as an ardent segregationist. Thrasher has previously mentioned exploring the idea of moving and renaming monuments on campus with problematic pasts, as with Eppes and Roberts as noted above.
Tomahawk Nation previously explored what the right name for the stadium would be. If Coburn’s report recommends renaming Doak Campbell stadium, the school would likely pursue several different options, including corporate sponsors.
The financial health of the athletic department could make this an ideal time for the addition of corporate partners to place their names on the new stadium. The current controversy surrounding Doak Campbell could present that opportunity.
Tomahawk Nation will keep you updated on any developments.