FSU panel supports statue removal, changes to building

FSU panel supports statue removal, changes to building
FSU panel supports statue removal, changes to building
Posted at 5:00 PM, May 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-04 17:00:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Two buildings at Florida State could be renamed and a statue could be removed, if President John Thrasher approves recommendations from a panel that represents the FSU community.

It's graduation time at Florida State so, the Westcott Fountain is a popular place for pictures, but could a landmark just a few yards away disappear?

That's the recommendation of a panel that has spent months debating the issue and more.

The statue of Francis Eppes recognizes the former mayor of Tallahassee and grandson of Thomas Jefferson as the founder of FSU.

"Some of that information has come into question, so the panel gave a lot of thought to that in deciding whether he still warranted such significant recognition on the campus," said Panel Chair Renisha Gibbs.

Eppes also owned slaves, a big issue for one student group.

"I don't see any reason why you would keep a statue of a slave owner on campus if he made no contributions to this university," said Katherine Draken, member of Tallahassee Students for a Democratic Society.

The panel voted to remove the statue and to replace it with something that credits the group of founders, the slave labor to build part of campus, and the Native Americans that were there before.

The panel also voted to erase Eppes' name from a campus building, but to provide context to his contributions somewhere on campus.

The Florida Legislature named the College of Law's headquarters after Supreme Court Justice B.K. Roberts.

He supported blocking a black man from getting into law school at the University of Florida.

The panel voted to recommend removing his name from the building, but to include something inside to remember him.

"B.K. Roberts deserves recognition for his contributions to the state and to the university for the law school," said Alumni Panel member Janet Stoner.

FSU President John Thrasher released a statement Friday saying: 

“I appreciate the attention paid by the panel to these important issues, and I want to thank them for their hard work. I also appreciate all of the public comment and feedback provided during the year. I look forward to receiving the panel’s report and recommendations, and I anticipate announcing a decision to the university community in a few weeks’ time.”