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Florida Legislators discuss future of the name of FSU's College of Law

A bill will go before the Florida Legislator that would allow the school to remove the name of Former Florida Supreme Court Justice BK Roberts
Posted at 6:15 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 18:16:29-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A name change debate over Florida State University's College of Law building will soon go before state leaders.

For almost 50 years the College of Law building has held the name of Florida Supreme Court Judge BK Roberts, but the Florida Legislature could change that this year.

The Leon County Delegation Committee met Tuesday to review a bill that would remove Justice Roberts name from the college of law building.

This move, in the works since 2018 after Florida State University President John Thrasher created the naming and recognitions panel.

Meeting minutes from that panel dive into Roberts' history denying access to a black University of Florida law school applicant Virgil Hawkins because of his race.

Those who have spoken up in favor of keeping Roberts name point to his contributions to judicial system and his efforts to help start the law school in 1966.

Professor Maxine Montgomery is the chair of the anti-racism task force, which sent a letter to President Thrasher endorsing the removal of Robert's name.

"Based on the deep dive that both groups made into the history of BK Roberts as far as integration was concerned. We felt as though it was in the best interest of the university to remove that name from one of the buildings and find another way to recognize Chief Justices contributions, said Montgomery.

In August the university's board of trustees also voted on a resolution supporting the University's steps to remove the name from this main law building.

State Senator Loranne Ausley, Representatives Ramon Alexander, and Allison Tant, and Jason Shoaf took are expected to be part of the conversations.