UMD - Re-name the NEWLY named "Mike" Miller Admin Building

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See that building between Alysa and I? It was recently re-named after Thomas V. "Mike" Miller, a respected Maryland politician & former President of the Maryland Senate. We found out that in the past, he's been very racist- and used his platform to counter progressive police reform and gay marriage. Why name the administration building after a known racist? Please help us by educating yourself on this Maryland-wide issue and spreading the word.

 

WTOP: Outgoing University President Wallace Loh said in a news release that Miller’s work “over the course of three decades, for the students, the faculty and the staff of UMD” was enough to honor him with the naming that will be seen by future generations to come to the College Park campus.

“Every year, tens of thousands of Terps will cross McKeldin Mall, inspired by Senator Miller’s unwavering commitment to propelling our university forward,” President-Designate Darryll J. Pines said. “His name will remind us all of his unwavering pursuit of service to the great state of Maryland and to the world.”

Gov. Larry Hogan said in the news release that Miller continues to be a leader for the legislature and the state, calling the dedication by the university “a fitting tribute to a lifetime of selfless service.”

It is not the first time the university has honored Miller. He was the recipient of the Tyser Medallion Award for Outstanding Service to the University of Maryland. He was named Outstanding Alumnus, and is in both the university and athletics department’s Halls of Fame.

(WTOP)

Still, we have a long way to go in the fight against racism. On July 28th, 2020 at 3:00 PM I had a meeting with Patty Perillo, who began serving as VP of Student Affairs in Fall 2019. She expressed her support of Black Terps Matter and willingness to use her position to connect me with some people who could help me as an individual. Not seemingly malicious. I met with her via Zoom to explain my concern over evidence that the newly named "Mike Miller” Main Administration Building is named after a man who displayed racist and homophobic views. I told her that, as an individual supporting the anti-racist movement, I think it is absolutely unacceptable for this to happen. I told her I would be following up with the supporting evidence, and I sent her the above email on July 28th, 2020. She has not yet responded  though she has sent me several emails about the people she put me in contact with.

Email to VP of Student Affairs, Patty Perillo- during our meeting 7/28/20 at 3:00 PM

Subject: Is Mike Miller a Racist?


Hi Patty,

Hope all is well with you, over the last few weeks (since July 1st, 2020) I’ve been collecting a few links (below) that all contain information regarding Mike Miller, who the Administration building was recently re-named after, being a racist? 


Please advise:

Mike Miller, a conservative Democrat, kept progress from happening for years...

https://lbsbaltimore.com/marylands-plantation-politics-the-midterm-general-election/

 

Mike Miller defended Justice Taney- author of the Dred Scott Decision?

https://pgcpsmess.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/after-protest-in-his-district-miller-says-he-regrets-offering-his-historical-perspective-about-justice-taney/

 

Mike Miller called black Republican an uncle tom???

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2001/10/11/miller-apologizes-for-uncle-tom-reference/50364676-18a5-4d42-91bb-da1b60a98dad/

 

In this interview Mike Miller displays a dog-whistle brand of racism directed at specific inner-cities, seemingly being racist towards people that live in Baltimore?

https://youtu.be/ccs29V-RK74

 

And to top it all off -- Mike Miller openly opposed gay marriage.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/same-sex-marriage-will-pass-in-md-in-12-senate-president-predicts/2011/07/28/gIQAj4T2fI_story.html?utm_term=.03cc2ddc7f07&itid=lk_inline_manual_28&_gl=1*rclwt5*_ga*Vi1seF9rb3dFQXJrQVZNMHExcW82OVcyZVdreno0Tks1Rjk3bnkzai1UdTczSTBvTGxOWFhjQU8zNTZwU2Uxcg

As I believe we as a UMD community should be on the same page when it comes to the anti-racist agenda- I’d love to discuss your thoughts on this through a meeting as soon as possible. 


Best,

Saba Tshibaka

More context:

Regarding the naming of the Main Administration Building: How, when, why, and by whom was it decided that the building would be named in honor of Mike Miller? Why did President Loh name it after such a partisan figure? Why would he name it after a relatively conservative white man? Why now?

What’s more, this naming appears to violate a 10 year moratorium on name changes that is set to expire in December 2020. However, the naming might be defended on the grounds that it was a “renaming” rather than a “new naming. For this reason we believe it may be more effective to fight the naming on symbolic grounds:

The Main Administration Building, which has never been named in all of its 164 years, is a part of many campus traditions. Black students visit it on campus tours and take their graduation pictures in front of it. National discourse  around the naming of buildings is highly charged right now, and well over 90% of public institutional buildings in this country are named after white males. Given these facts, it was highly inappropriate to name what is arguably the second most important building on campus (second after McKeldin, named after an actual segregationist) after a white male who often stood for political centrism and opposed progressive actions. Miller opposed police reform and gay marriage, and made disparaging (racist) remarks about Baltimore residents. UMD has set itself up for future building name protests.

“Baltimore is a ***** shithole. It’s worse than Washington DC- it’s shitty. I hope you’re not getting any of this on tape *hahahaha* I mean it’s a war zone, I mean it’s crack, these dime bags of PCP... one quarter of kids not in school each day, 50% of kids in school don’t graduate so looking at things from a statewide perspective we really need to help”.

https://youtu.be/ccs29V-RK74


They may argue the moratorium saying it was only on "renaming" rather than "a new naming" So it may be better to argue on just purely symbolic grounds: seeing how highly charged the discussion is around the "naming" of buildings, and the fact that well over 90% of public institutional buildings in this country are named after white males, why was it appropriate to name arguably the second most important building on campus (second after McKeldin- an actual segregationist) after a white male who often stood for political centrism and opposed many progressive actions throughout his long and checkered career including police reform AND gay marriage? Someone who made disparaging, racist remarks about Baltimore being shitty?... UMD is just setting itself up for future building name protests...

 

I propose the UMD Community petitions to:

1) Formally un-name the administration building after Thomas V. "Mike" Miller

2) Re-name the administration building to Mr.Hiram Whittle, the first African American male to be admitted to our university in 1951; Ms.Elaine Johnson-Coates, the first African American female to graduate with a degree in education in 1959. Pine's 5th Initiative is to name the new residence halls after these prestigious individuals- why not name the admin building after them? I'll update with a fresh list of individuals that new buildings should be named after soon...

3) Incorporate the ENTIRE ARHU Student project Claiming Their Space: Black Student Activism at the University of Maryland- (NEW UMD BLACK HISTORY EXHIBIT) into Pine's new TerrapinStrong Onboarding Program

This exhibition was curated for a graduate-level museum research seminar by Mateo Arango, Lauren Cain, Wanda Hernández, Kristy Li Puma, Benjamin Shaw, Sarah Wampler, and Alan Wierdak.  As a group, they developed a theme, an object list, captions, and from there, designed and installed the digital show. Special thanks to Dr. Quint Gregory for his constant support throughout the course.

One of the most important limits in how this project unfolded is that it has not yet been informed by consultation or collaboration with Black Student Union alumni and current members. Under better conditions, these perspectives and potential work together would have been a natural and necessary starting point for a project about the activism and legacy of previous BSU members at UMD. The process of building the exhibit could also benefit from an understanding of current BSU priorities and recent work, and could ideally complement or support BSU work already underway or completed. (Exhibit, 2020)

 

How did we let this happen?

Well, President Loh officially changed the name of the main administration building on June 29th 2020. President Pines came into office two days later on July 1st, 2020.

The next day after the re-naming, President Pines sat on an anti-racist panel hosted by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education, College of Education. Why is our community letting him be okay with this? Where are the checks and balances? Where is the accountability? Truthfully, President Pines has yet to meet with any BTM organizers. 

https://education.umd.edu/research/centers/cdihe

 

To be anti-racist...

"Anti-racism" is the policy or practice of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance. 

"Tolerance" is the absence of prejudice of what is disliked, towards those whose practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own.

I'm asking that President Pines makes it a priority of his to immediately un-name the main administration building.

Please sign this petition to support un-naming the administration building: https://www.change.org/UMD_UNNAME

Saba Tshibaka

University of Maryland, College Park C/O 2020

*Picture credits to DBK - Julia Nikhinson*