Catt Hall 1955

The ISD Editorial Board demands a name change to Call Hall in the name of inclusivity and values. 

Editor's Note: There has been a change to the content included in the editorial due to misrepresented facts and conclusions. The Daily regrets this error. 

As the Black Lives Matter movement seeps across the country, monuments are vandalized and statues torn apart, there leaves no exceptions, not even at Iowa State University.

Students are angry and chanting for change. On June 18, protesters from the Ames and Iowa State community marched around campus and up to The Knoll, where President Wendy Wintersteen resides, demanding a significant change to campus: a new name for Catt Hall.  

Catt Hall memorializes Carrie Chapman Catt, a historical women’s suffrage activist beginning in the late 1880s who founded the League of Women Voters in 1920. She championed the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution as well. Catt was even an Iowa State graduate in 1880. However, the situation is more nuanced that we were ever led to believe. 

Quoted from her advocacy days in the early 1900s, “White supremacy will be strengthened, not weakened, by women’s suffrage.” 

Is this who we are choosing to memorialize and value on our campus? 

Many argue Carrie Chapman Catt was a product of her time period. That her rhetoric was too powerful. That her suffragist activism was too strong. That we shouldn’t disregard her contributions to women. 

But what is the true purpose of a monument? A memorial? “Monuments and memorials serve multiple functions in the communities in which they are erected,” according to an article in Facing History. “When the members of a community create a monument or memorial, they are making a statement about the ideas, values, or individuals they think their society should remember, if not honor.” 

There are a few fallacies to Catt’s character that come into question: 

  1. She was a major suffragist, but didn’t fight for all women’s suffrage

  2. She should represent Iowa State to its fullest extent, but she doesn’t

We need to be more exclusive and inclusive about who and what we are honoring. Catt was expressive in her racism, and that is not intolerable. 

Yes, we should respect and admire her work for contributing to women’s suffrage. But we should not memorialize a woman who does not fully represent what Iowa State and the nation want to value. 

We will no longer tolerate oppression in any way and neither will our communities. The Ames Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Chapter President, George Jackson, said the university should change the name so that it could say, “I will not tolerate racism in any form or fashion.” 

Equality is no longer an issue that has gray areas. Equality is a black and white issue with a yes or no reaction. By keeping Catt Hall’s name, we are riding the gray line and continuing to tolerate racism on campus. 

Catt Hall’s name is not the only one at stake. Every building and monument on campus will be brought to court, and the jury has already spoken: Black Lives Matter. 

Our mission statement says it all: “Create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.” Note: we can’t make the world a better place if we continue to remain ignorant about racist figures on campus. 

That’s not who we stand for and that’s not what we stand for. The battle to change Catt Hall’s name is a battle fought for far too long, haunting our campus for decades. It is impossible to honor someone while knowing they supported the oppression of Black communities of Americans. Tolerating racism is not enough. Not anymore. 

Now is the time for Iowa State to choose someone with a history that is not blemished by racism, but is in support for Black lives everywhere. We speak of inclusivity, but we need to put the actions behind our words and be better. 

Renaming Catt Hall is long overdue.

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Letter to the Editor Submission Link

(4) comments

Steve Gregg

Here's a news flash for you: All the liberals of a century ago were racists.

As for Catt Hall, whatever name you decide for it this time, I recommend that you attach the name plate to the building with velcro, so you can easily rip it back off when you silly liberals decide that the next name is politically incorrect, too.

Jon Saville

"The battle to change Catt Hall’s name is a battle fought for far too long, haunting our campus for over a century."

The building was named Catt Hall in 1995 when it was renovated and changed from Old Botany Hall. What are you even talking about? This isn't even factually correct. But I guess facts don't matter to angry mobs.

"Yes, we should respect and admire her work for contributing to women’s suffrage. But we should not memorialize a woman who does not fully represent what Iowa State and the nation want to value. "

She said that offensive remark in 1919 and died in 1947. Things were different then. And she said it to win over states in the South in the name of women's suffrage. What she said was wrong and we can recognize that and discus it in the modern day, but the truth is that women would not have the freedoms they enjoy today without the work of Carrie Chapman Catt and other women's suffragettes. It doesn't make what she said right, but like it or not, it is our history. Remembering history is the only way to learn and grow moving forward. You're in college. Sit and think about the meaning of this quote and question what motive someone would have in urging you to forget your history:

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness...Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

This is a university. They are meant to inform and inspire and spark meaningful conversation, not sugarcoat the past in the name of political correctness.

Mark Nelson

Leave the name of the buildings alone. The Greeks were pedophiles, but we haven't erased their history. Seriously - ISU (and all universities) need to tend to education and stay out of the politics of the day.

Fact checker - From the ISU website - Demolition of Old Botany was considered several times, but the decision to begin a $5 million renovation and rename the building to Carrie Chapman Catt Hall was made in 1992. Catt was an Iowa State graduate (1880) who went on to be a major leader in the women's suffrage movement.

Brian Mcdonough

You could call the Hall:

"Hall For ALL The People Whom Racist Catt Hated"

Why Carrie Catt Is More Than A Racist - Why Carrie Catt Truly Is Evil.

People probably already have read the following racist statement of racist Carrie Catt: "White SUPREMACY will be STRENGTHENED, not weakened, by women's suffrage."

Intentionally encouraging racism to further an agenda also intentionally encourages racism which is the act of a racist.

It is interesting how Iowa State itself publishes the true evil that is racist Carrie Catt and for the reasons set forth below. The following passages of racist Catt are from this Iowa State page from racist Iowa State Center for racist Catt:

https://awpc.cattcenter.iastate.edu/2017/03/21/danger-to-our-government-dec-15-1894/

"This Government is menaced with great danger, and that danger cannot be averted by the triumph of the part of protection, nor by that of free trade, nor by the triumph of single tax or of free silver. That danger lies in the votes possessed by the males in the SLUMS of the cities, and the ignorant FOREIGN votes"

Iowa State, that is what your racist poster child Catt said. That is what YOU know about racist Catt. Shame. Shame.

"every ship load of FOREIGNERS brings them nearer to their object"

Iowa State, that is what your racist poster child Catt said. That is what YOU know about racist Catt. Shame. Shame.

"There is but one way to avert the danger--cut off the vote of the SLUMS and give to woman"

Iowa State, that is what your racist poster child Catt said. That is what YOU know about racist Catt. Shame. Shame.

"cut it off at the bottom, the vote of the SLUMS"

Iowa State, that is what your racist poster child Catt said. That is what YOU know about racist Catt. Shame. Shame.

"granting the vote to woman and cutting of the vote of the SLUMS, if it could not be otherwise controlled, would result at once in good to the nation."

Iowa State, that is what your racist poster child Catt said. That is what YOU know about racist Catt. Shame. Shame.

The true evil that is racist Iowa State Catt knows no bounds. She's an equal opportunity racist including against people in city slums, which would include probably 90% of the people of color in any American city at that time. She's also an equal opportunity racist against foreigners.

But there's more. How is that possible? Well, this is racist Iowa State Catt.

Ponder thrice, if your stomach can tolerate it, another evil Iowa State page from racist Iowa State Center for racist Catt:

https://awpc.cattcenter.iastate.edu/2019/02/01/subject-and-sovereign-1888/

Iowa State, that is what your racist poster child Catt said. That is what YOU know about racist Catt. Shame. Shame.

But there's more. How is that possible? Well, this is racist Iowa State Catt.

In "Woman Suffrage by Federal Constitutional Amendment," racist Iowa State Catt wrote at page 77:

"in nine other states the number of white women exceeds the total negro population. Woman suffrage would so vastly increase the white vote that it would GUARANTEE WHITE SUPREMACY if it otherwise stood in danger of overthrow.”

Racist Iowa State Catt did not want simply to "strengthen" white supremacy. Racist Iowa State Catt wanted to "guarantee" white supremacy.

Iowa State, that is what your racist poster child Catt said. Shame. Shame.

If you think that Catt's racism could not get any worse, she boldly declares this racist 'call to action' in the same text:

"If the South really wants white supremacy, it will urge the enfranchisement of women.”

Iowa State, that is what your racist poster child Catt said. Shame. Shame.

Catt should be cast out of ISU: her racist name removed from everywhere. The Center for this racist should removed from Iowa State and given to Steve King as its new Director. It could be called the "State of Iowa

Steve King & Carrie Catt Center To Encourage Racist Politics And Culture."

Iowa State students: don't be "chumps" about racist Iowa State Catt. You know what Mister Little of Omaha said about "chumps." The only thing worse than being their chump - is being your own chump.

Action and change are verbs - not nouns. They have no past tense and no future tense - only the present tense. Only now...now... now...

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