Campus Reform | Investigation finds no evidence of FSU founding president’s supposed racism. 'Anti-racists' still want him canceled.

Investigation finds no evidence of FSU founding president’s supposed racism. 'Anti-racists' still want him canceled.

A subcommittee of Florida State University’s anti-racism task force shot down a suggestion to keep the name of the school’s first president on its football stadium.

Their conclusion disagrees with the recommendation of one task force member who “did not find evidence” of racist behavior from the president.

A group of professors on Florida State University’s anti-racism task force shot down a recommendation to keep the name of the school’s founder on its football stadium.

According to a report from the school’s student newspaper — which Florida State University News and Research Communications Assistant Director Amy Farnum-Patronis confirmed to Campus Reform as accurate — history professor Maxine Jones recommended that the university keep the name of its founder, Doak S. Campbell, on its stadium.

Farnum-Patronis explained that Jones “examined hundreds of documents in the historical archives related to Mr. Campbell’s tenure as the university’s president.” Referring to his complicity in segregation, Farnum-Patronis added that Jones “did not find evidence that Mr. Campbell exhibited racist behavior, he followed the rules of the day, and that he worked behind-the-scenes to address race relations.”

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“We recommend that the football stadium on the campus of Florida State University maintain the name Doak S. Campbell Stadium,” reads her recommendation. “Doak S. Campbell, the first president of FSU, deserves recognition for his guidance of (Florida State College for Women) during its transition to Florida State University, and for his leadership and poise during the initial stage of a tumultuous transitional period in our state’s history.”

However, the Historical Legacy subcommittee of Florida State President John Thrasher’s Task Force on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion shot down the recommendation in a 6-2 vote. Jones — who sits on the committee — was joined only by Florida State University basketball player Malik Osborne in affirming the recommendation.

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During the meeting, Jones and Doak Campbell III — Doak S. Campbell’s grandson — argued that Campbell never explicitly favored the segregation codified as state law during his tenure. Campbell III claimed that his grandfather was “a very progressive man” during “a very difficult time.”

In contrast, committee member Miles Feacher said that he was “not placing specific blame on Doak Campbell, however, his actions unfortunately resulted in the continuation of segregation.”

Farnum-Patronis said that the university has not yet officially decided to remove Campbell’s name. The Historical Legacy Subcommittee’s decision “will be discussed and debated during a full meeting of the task force” before “any recommendation is sent to FSU President Thrasher,” who will make a final evaluation.

Campus Reform reached out to Jones for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft