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UI Board of Trustees Approves Name Change of Stephen Douglas Hall to Frederick Douglass Hall

Fredrick Douglass

In July, the UI Board of Trustees unanimously approved the name change of Stephen Douglas Hall to Frederick Douglass Hall.

This initiative was spearheaded by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Engagement under the support of leadership in the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Blacks (CCSB), the African American Academic Network (AAAN), the African American Cultural Center (AACC), the President’s Award Program (PAP), the Urban Health Program (UHP), the UIC CHANCE Program, the TRIO Student Support Services Program (SSS) and the Office of Academic and Enrollment Services (AES).

“Senator Stephen Douglas’s values and principles were incongruent with the culture at UIC,” the UI Board of Trustees stated in their approval notice. “The renaming is sought to fortify UIC’s efforts to promote organizational culture and structure, grounded in access, equity, and inclusion principles. UIC seeks to create an inclusive learning environment and address critical social issues to advance the city of Chicago. The university celebrates Mr. Douglass’s values and the role he played during one of the most challenging times in our nation’s history with the proposed renaming.”

Frederick Douglass was a 19th century American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer and statesman whose experiences as a former slave shaped both his public works and the social impact of his advocacy for equality for all people. This renaming of the east campus hall will mark the first time in UIC’s history that a building has been named after a Black person.

“It is a visual representation of our rich, long and impactful history in this country and on this campus,” said Aisha El-Amin, PhD, associate vice chancellor for equity and belonging in the Office of Diversity, Equity & Engagement. “This is a historical moment, especially for folks who have dedicated their time, talents and expertise to ensuring success and a sense of belonging for Black students at UIC.”