Rename Strom Thurmond Wellness Center after Dawn Staley

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The University of South Carolina needs to rename its Wellness Center today.

James Strom Thurmond Sr. was an American military officer and politician who served for 48 years as a United States Senator from South Carolina. He ran for president in 1948 as the Dixiecrat candidate on a States Rights platform supporting racial segregation

A filibuster is a term used for any attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or other matter by debating it at length, by offering numerous procedural motions, or by any other delaying or obstructive actions. Thurmond led the filibuster that was carried out for more than 24 hours to prevent the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. It was said to be the last stand by a group of senators who used the Senate rules to maintain a state of racial injustice that befell the United States for nearly a century. Thurmond was a proponent of institutionalized racism for decades. To have absolutely anything named after Thurmond is a disgrace—he does not deserve to be honored by the University of South Carolina for his extreme racial prejudice and active role in attempting to prevent civil rights.

The Wellness Center needs to be named after a hard-working, role model that students and the school can be proud of. Dawn Staley is well deserving of recognition on the University of South Carolina campus. Staley is a basketball Hall of Fame player and coach, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, and was elected to carry the United States flag at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympics.

In addition to honoring her as the US Women’s Basketball National Team head coach for 2017-2020, in 12 seasons with South Carolina, Staley’s teams have won the 2017 national championship and finished their season in the Final Four once, Elite Eight once and Sweet Sixteen four times.

This year she became the first-ever head coach in either men's or women's college basketball to win the Naismith Coach of the Year award after previously winning the Naismith Player of the Year.

Dawn Staley has always been recognized for her relentless effort to improve and work hard on and off the basketball court. See her recent piece on The Player’s Tribune: https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/dawn-staley-racial-injustice

As alumni, we encourage our school to make the right choice. We need a school we can be proud of—in all aspects. The Wellness Center needs to be renamed immediately. Strom Thurmond should not be a name we have to see as we step into a building to work hard and improve ourselves, nor should it be a name that should have any recognition, period. Change the name of the University of South Carolina's Wellness Center to something we can be proud of every time we step foot in those doors and on campus: Dawn Staley Wellness Center.