ST. PAUL — Macalester College is removing its founder’s name from two campus buildings in response to recent campus outcry over his “racist and dehumanizing” writings toward indigenous people, the school announced Monday, Nov. 18.
The Rev. Edward Duffield Neill was a Presbyterian pastor and historian who became Minnesota’s first superintendent of public instruction and the University of Minnesota’s first chancellor before founding Macalester in 1874.
American Indian students in recent years have called attention to Neill’s more troubling views of indigenous people, as well as female students. The campus newspaper Mac Weekly last month published a special issue on Neill and other namesakes of campus buildings.
President Brian Rosenberg last week recommended Neill’s name be removed from both Neill Hall and a room inside Weyerhaeuser Hall. The Board of Trustees then approved the moves.
“The language and attitudes expressed toward indigenous people in those writings are racist and dehumanizing in the extreme, even by the admittedly different standards of the time,” Rosenberg and the board wrote in a joint statement Monday.
Leaders of the private St. Paul college said they have no plans to re-examine the namesakes of other campus buildings, as the University of Minnesota did last year.