University of Texas at Arlington students confront President Cowley, demand stop honoring segregationists
Arlington, TX – On October 31, the Progressive Student Union held a silent protest at the University of Texas at Arlington's presidential open forum and Q and A with newly inducted President Jennifer Cowley. The students arrived with signs in hand and with a large banner boldly stating “E.H. Hereford was a segregationist! UTA should not honor this!” The Progressive Student Union demands UTA rename the University Center, presently named the E.H. Hereford University Center; take down Herefords bust in the same building, and rename the neighboring Woolf Hall.
The two buildings are named in honor of former university presidents who fought integration efforts of the Civil Rights Act and promoted white supremacy on campus. PSU felt that as one of the newest leaders at UTA, President Cowley needed to be directly asked about the issue.
At first, Cowley praised former President Woolf, an infamous segregationist, for integrating UTA back in 1962 – and after repeated questioning and revealing the racist nature of Woolf and Hereford she partially backtracked on the praise.
When it came down to the question of her agreeing to a binding referendum on the University Center’s name, Cowley continually refused to take any responsibility on the issue. When Justin Bent, PSU’s vice president, directly asked her if she would do her part in the process – she again refused to take any ownership on confronting the white supremacist segregationists that are currently being honored and platformed on campus.
This action was to show that while UTA may try to whitewash and ignore what has been brewing on campus, nearly 700 students have signed a petition to remove Woolf and Hereford’s names on their current buildings and move the bust from its current place. Like the saying, “The long memory is the most radical idea,” PSU is forcing UTA to grapple with its defense of white supremacists sooner rather than later.