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FSU President agrees to remove Francis Eppes name from College of Criminology

Also approved 8 other task force recommendations
FSU President announces decision on Eppes statue, Roberts building.jpg
Posted at 3:06 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 17:56:12-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida State University President John Thrasher has ordered that Francis W. Eppes' name be removed from the College of Criminology building.

Thrasher announced his decision to accept the recommendation from the president's Task Force on Anti-Racism, Equality, and Inclusion in a letter released Tuesday afternoon.

"I am directing all appropriate units on campus to rename Eppes Hall the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice Building," Thrasher wrote in the letter.

As part of the move, a record of the building's history as Eppes Hall and the reasons for the change will be prepared and archived for historical purposes.

Thrasher noted that Eppes’ “role in the early days of FSU notwithstanding, Eppes was a slave owner and a justice of the peace who oversaw the capture of escaped slaves, and as such he should not be honored on our campus with a building in his name.”

The university president also accepted a recommendation to permanently remove the Eppes statue from display on campus.

He said that he's asked his administration to explore a "museum or archival space to house the statue."

Thrasher also reaffirmed his support for the removal of B.K. Roberts’ name from a College of Law building.

While Florida Legislature established the building’s name in 1973 and will have to take legislative action to repeal the law, Thrasher said FSU is working closely with the local legislative delegation, which unanimously approved draft bill language earlier this month.

“With their backing and resolutions of support from the FSU Board of Trustees and the FSU Faculty Senate, I’m hopeful the bill will move forward during the legislative session that begins March 2 and that we’ll have a positive outcome on this matter,” he wrote.

The other recommendations also included securing and using a national higher education database and networking tool geared toward the recruitment of underrepresented faculty and staff and devising systematic ways of centralizing the results of campus climate surveys for broad access.

“These recommendations will lead to a stronger and more just, equitable and inclusive future for all of us,” Thrasher wrote. “You have already accomplished so much, and I look forward to hearing updates about your further progress this spring.”

To read Thrasher’s letter in its entirety, click here.