A personal statement on the need to rename the union

Nathan Harman, Contributor

Facts can be evil. If evil facts are public and notable, then they are even more evil. Historical anti-Semitism on our campus has no right to be known privately. I believe that no student has any business being independently aware of prominent historical figures at the University if those figures created discriminatory policies.

This is why Coffman Union, Nicholson Hall, Middlebrook Hall, and Coffey Hall all must be renamed at once. It is appalling to think of students researching these names without the careful oversight of the Board of Regents and the Minnesota Student Association. It would be dangerous for students to know the full truth of these twisted figures and be able to form their own opinions of them.

We must work to destroy visible history as quickly as possible, otherwise who knows what kind of non-conformist opinions may be made of these figures? That a building on campus bears the name of Lotus Coffman, known for his segregationist policies, is an affront to the open-minded ideals that this University upholds. It is not appropriate to educate students with the objective facts of what Coffman did. We must do what we can to erase the facts that run counter to our virtuous standards at the U.

Our moral obligation and duty is to demand the resignation of each and every regent who rejected the renaming recommendation set forward by President Kaler. There is no room in the collective conscious of campus for this kind of dissent or critical thought process. In instances such as this where we are confronting historical facts that we want to dilute and control instead of openly acknowledge and discuss, differing from the crowd constitutes unadulterated evil.

Every minute we let dissenting ideas that promote hate run around our campus unchecked is another minute that our freedom to comfort and open thought is eroded. We must make it known that freedom of thought is actually eroded by free thought because if people are allowed to freely spread ideas that make others uncomfortable, then those who were made uncomfortable will be less likely to spread their own ideas.

This is the kind of war we are waging against hate on campus. This is not a war of ideas, rather it is a war against having ideas. This is a war based on the virtues of not questioning the morally righteous crowd that has spearheaded the noble cause of renaming these five treacherous buildings.

I would consider some of the thoughts and concerns of the opposition here, but to do so would undermine our cause. It is not the intelligent we seek, but the faithful. It is not the independent we seek, but the needy. We seek not to be strong, but to be victims, for there is such profound virtue to be discovered in being oppressed that no achievement of skill or critical thinking independently accomplished can match it. This is our credo.

Personally, I would prefer to just see these buildings completely demolished. Leaving no trace of their roots has a better chance of concealing this history than simply renaming. What’s one more tuition increase in the name of a good cause? Morals must always come before money, even if it means sacrificing other people’s money, and that’s a sacrifice I would be willing to make for the greater good.

Regardless of how this change comes about, it will require a heavy administrative hand on the part of the administration. Sometimes it’s better for authority to act in the best interest of the community even if it’s against their wishes. Administrators high up in the University have a better overview of what the student body needs than the student body itself does. It is this kind of radical action that we need to take to fight the radicals and their co-conspirators because if we show that we are intolerant of intolerance, then we can capture the hearts and minds of the student body in the end, which we know will justify the means used to achieve that.

So will you help us fight the ugly facts? Will you help us end rampant use of information by students without the guidance of authorities to ensure the safety of the student body from our racist and anti-Semitic history? Will you help us enable the administration to act with force against the hateful dissidents? Our freedom depends on it.