Renaming of Foust Hall and Kelly Shorts Stadium

Renaming of Foust Hall and Kelly Shorts Stadium

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Petition to
Central Michigan University Board of Trustees and

Why this petition matters

Started by Wilson Anthony

In an edition of CM Life from 1965, a Life Managing Editor by the name of Tom Needels covered a story highlighting housing discrimination in Mount Pleasant, MI. 

He said, " If you're a white man and want to live off campus in the spring -- go ahead. If you're a Negro and want to live off campus -- you better be ready to take whatever you can get, because a lot of the householders won't allow Negroes to rent the apartments."

This was published after CM Life surveyed to see if there was off-campus housing discrimination in the greater Mount Pleasant Community. In this study, two white participants (one being Gene Ragland) and one black student (Cecil Rice) were to test if there were differences in who were allowed to rent properties off campus.

Out of the reactions, 10 out of 15 homeowners turned away Cecil Rice with varying reactions to addressing black student and white student renters.

However, instead of applause for this survey, the administration responded with disapproval especially from President Foust particularly in his released statement on February 19, 1965. Students questioned whether Foust was suggesting that housing discrimination did not exist or worse that renters should be able to decide who to rent to even if it discriminates against the school's black community.

Quoted from Cecil Rice a former football player: “Bill Kelly” was the biggest racist of all. Kelly Shorts stadium is named after this same person. Should we honor someone simply because they led us to championships?

Do we want students to congregate in a place where the very place they are playing/watching is named after a person who rather not have any black students on campus or even on his football team?

Central is searching for answers on how to reconcile barriers and it's history of racism. We should start by renaming buildings/stadiums that were named after figures who stood against change and positive growth. Foust Hall should be named after people like Cecil Rice who paved the way to help make CMU more inclusive. Kelly Shorts stadium should be named after Herb Deromedi, a coach who led CMU into a new era of being inclusive and making all of his players feel at home along with championships won in 1979, 1980, and 1990. 

While a building  and a stadium being renamed is only a small step in dismantling systemic racism, every step brings us closer to our ultimate goal of being inclusive to all students.

1,547 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!