The board of trustees at the University of Oregon has accepted the proposal of president Michael H. Schill to change the name of Dunn Hall, a dormitory on campus. The residence hall will be called Cedar Hall for the time being. A permanent new name will be selected honoring an individual who exemplifies the characteristics of racial diversity and inclusion. A plaque will be hung in the residence hall that will tell the history of the building and why the name change was made.
The dormitory was originally named to honor Frederic S. Dunn, a former professor of Latin at the University of Oregon. Dunn was born in 1872 and held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Oregon and a second bachelor’s degree from Harvard University. He retired from teaching in 1935.
Professor Dunn also served as the Exalted Cyclops of the Eugene chapter of the Ku Klux Klan during the 1920s. The chapter reportedly had about 450 members.
In his letter recommending that Dunn’s named be removed from the building, President Schill stated that “Dunn, as the head of an organization that supported racism and violence against African Americans, Catholics, and Jews, is not a man for whom a building should be named on the University of Oregon campus. While Dunn no doubt was a dedicated teacher and scholar, neither of these activities outweigh the harm he did by lending his name to one of the most despicable organizations in American history.”
The trustees agreed with President Schill and unanimously voted to remove Dunn’s name from the dormitory. The resolution agreed to by the trustees echoed the president’s sentiment by stating “Dunn was the head of an organization that supported racism, persecution and violence against Oregonians because of the color of their skin and religious beliefs. Whereas, because of his egregious actions and his leadership within the Ku Klux Klan, the university recommends removal of his name from the building with which it is associated.”