Northern Michigan University: Remove Campus Monument's Racist Ties to Apartheid


Northern Michigan University: Remove Campus Monument's Racist Ties to Apartheid

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Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees and

Why this petition matters

Started by John Doe

One usually doesn't have to go far to see the legacy of racism in their own community. In Marquette, Michigan, that unfortunately includes Northern Michigan University.

The Carillon Towers, located on the campus of Northern Michigan University and built to replicate the Kaye Hall Towers, were funded by John P. McGoff, a conservative newspaper magnate who was a prominent supporter of South Africa’s white supremacist apartheid government.

McGoff accepted over $11 million from the South African government in exchange for pushing a pro-apartheid message in the United States, and was charged by the U.S. government with being an unregistered foreign agent of the South African government.

In 1978, McGoff donated $300,000 to Northern Michigan University, which the school accepted and used to create the McGoff Distinguished Lecture Series--but not without significant controversy and protests from students and faculty.

Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Eli Wiesel was invited to speak at NMU, but he declined due to McGoff’s financial involvement with the school. Wiesel decided that his visit could delegitimize concerns regarding McGoff and his support of apartheid.

A plaque on the towers bears the name of "Mr. & Mrs. John P. McGoff." The fact that NMU has not yet addressed this after all these years--either by rededicating the towers or removing them altogether--is shameful.

Today, with the renewed push for racial equality and justice in America following the death of George Floyd, it is more important than ever for our community to sever ties to any racist cause or movement, and NMU's Carillon Towers stand in direct opposition to that.

Though it might be compelling to simply call for the towers to be removed, I feel it would be more helpful and also educational to rededicate the towers to promoting racial equality, and educating on the tragedy of apartheid in South Africa.

Please sign this petition and join me in urging Northern Michigan University President Fritz Erickson and the NMU Board of Trustees to remove the university of racist ties and rededicate the Carillon Towers.


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