Jay Gogue, Auburn's president, announced on Tuesday that he is forming two different groups to look at the names on University buildings and other ways that Auburn can address "racial inequities that exist."
Gogue made the announcement during a virtual meeting of the University Senate.
"Clearly, it is time for us at Auburn to get in front of some racial inequities that exist," Gogue said. "I'm not saying that we haven't done a number of things good historically, but we can do more, and we can do better."
Gogue said the University is hoping to officially announce the groups later this week but laid out rough sketches for what each will be assigned to do.
"One is All Trustees group," Gogue said. "They will look, because of their policies and state law, at the building names on this campus.”
The issue of building names has been raised over the last month, with an online petition, which has garnered over 6,000 signatures, calling for the University to rename Wallace Hall, an industrial design building named for former governor George Wallace.
In addition to the petition, a group of Auburn history faculty members released an interactive map which detailed the buildings on campus that had been named for Confederates, segregationists, white supremacists or their family members.
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The other group that Gogue announced will focus on additional actions that the University can take to address the racial inequities on campus.
"The second group is Internal, and it will focus, really, on some key leaders, and let's try to identify the tangible things that we can do to make changes," Gogue said. "I'm not interested in just platitudes; I'm not interested in everybody saying we didn't do this or that. What are the real specific things that we can do to make a difference?"
Gogue said that he met with some Auburn students of color last week and discussed these groups.
"The African American kids asked us last week: 'When you create groups, don't just create groups of all African Americans. We're tired of just talking to ourselves,' is what they told me," he said.
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