So much buzz about re­nam­ing a build­ing and the pro­posal to erect a statue hon­or­ing Gandhi

Austin American-Statesman - - OPINION -

Re: July 16 ar­ti­cle “Re­gents OK chang­ing dorm’s name.”

Be­cause of a man’s past, you erase all signs that bring dis­grace of the mighty Uni­ver­sity of Texas? It doesn’t mat­ter that Wil­liam Ste­wart Simkins taught law at UT and that he did a great deal of good while teach­ing there.

If you con­demn an in­di­vid­ual for his racist past, then let’s con­demn the Texas Longhorns foot­ball team for its big­oted and racist past and strip it of the 1969 na­tional foot­ball ti­tle. I mean, af­ter all, the Longhorns were the last all-white foot­ball team to win a na­tional ti­tle, which means that black play­ers were not al­lowed to play for them un­til 1969, when Julius Whit­tier be­came the first black player as a fresh­man. Sounds like racism to me.

Let’s strip the mighty Longhorns of all awards prior to 1969, and let’s re­name the team the Creek­side Scare­crows. Now doesn’t that make about as much sense as chang­ing the name of Simkins Hall?

Tom Walsh



Since we could not tol­er­ate the name of an avowed racist on our UT dor­mi­tory, why do we al­low the name of Mirabeau B. La­mar to grace so many sites in our state? Since La­mar be­lieved that it was nec­es­sary to bring about the “to­tal ex­tinc­tion” of the In­dian tribes in Texas, he was at least as racist as Simkins.

Then there is the prob­lem of the name Jeff Davis County. A lit­tle con­sis­tency, please.

Bill Gould



Shame on the UT Board of Re­gents for bow­ing to the po­lit­i­cally cor­rect cat­er­waul­ing and vot­ing unan­i­mously to change the name of Simkins Hall to Creek­side. Con­grat­u­la­tions, you gut­less won­ders.

There is a lot more his­tory to Simkins than a 19th cen­tury flir­ta­tion with the Klan. The re­gents could have used this lat­est friv­o­lous com­plaint to re­buke the bed-wet­ting, whin­ing left­ists by re­mem­ber­ing to us some of his more noble ac­com­plish­ments.

But the whole of this learned man’s life is of no in­ter­est to Prin­tice Gary, Gre­gory Vin­cent or any of their ilk. It’s all about pok­ing an old, dead white guy in the eye with a stick. Feel bet­ter now, guys?

Bill GeB­hard iii bg4sky­line@hot­


The pic­ture of the two em­ploy­ees car­ry­ing off the Simkins Hall sign brought back a wave of nostal­gia.

In the early 1950s, I would laugh with the rest of Amer­ica at the lat­est Soviet govern­ment’s at­tempt to re­write his­tory by or­der­ing the schools to cut the pic­ture of some for­mer com­rade from the text. A change in the po­lit­i­cal wind or a new top man would re­sult in the air­brush be­ing used to re­move the once beloved hero — now a vil­lain — from his place on the May Day re­view­ing stand.

I thought the laughs were over, and then along comes Simkins.

duane doB­son


How coura­geous of the re­gents to re­name the cam­pus dorm to elim­i­nate a ref­er­ence to a Ku Klux Klan mem­ber.

At al­most the same time, our coura­geous Washington leg­is­la­tors hon­ored the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., whose ré­sumé in­cludes an en­try as a mem­ber of the Klan.

Do we re­ally be­lieve that the mon­u­ments to Byrd in West Vir­ginia will be re­named? How do these facts com­pute?

BoB Tur­ren­Tine


I never thought that Austin had so many in­wardly fo­cused, pro­vin­cial peo­ple. The con­tro­versy about a statue of Gandhi sure brings out that lo­cal pride — as in, “What did that fel­low do for me to­day in this par­tic­u­lar part of the Lone Star State?”

What about the fact that Gandhi is a sym­bol of world­wide rev­o­lu­tion­ary thought? He over­came a mind-set that freed the world of colo­nial­ism with­out war or vi­o­lence. The fact that his ideas of peace and re­sis­tance to in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized wrongs is still rel­e­vant to­day seems to be lost on the lat­est crop of let­ter writ­ers.

Too bad they can’t see past their own lim­i­ta­tions: Gandhi is still giv­ing war a bad name to­day.

Paul schulz-Behrend


It is my be­lief that Ghandi is a wor­thy can­di­date to be hon­ored by the City of Austin. Cows be­ing sa­cred in In­dia, I won­der if the city of New Delhi would con­sider erect­ing a statue of Bevo.

michael Thomas hou1mit@earth­


The most com­mon statue, by far, is an im­age of Je­sus, who was not an Amer­i­can or a war hero. His mes­sage de­fined a bet­ter way of liv­ing to­gether.

Gandhi’s views seem sim­i­lar in phi­los­o­phy and long-term re­sults. So hav­ing a statue here seems OK un­less the un­writ­ten rule is that pub­lic stat­ues should be limited to Je­sus and Amer­i­can he­roes.

John VolTin


Jay Jan­ner

the uni­ver­sity of texas sys­tem board of re­gents unan­i­mously voted last thurs­day to change the name of simkins res­i­dence hall to Creek­side res­i­dence hall. and just like that, a cou­ple of hous­ing em­ploy­ees hauled off the sign with the simkins name, which rec­og­nized a uni­ver­sity law pro­fes­sor who pre­vi­ously was a Ku Klux Klan leader in Florida.

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