Historic Building: Catt Hall (copy)

Letter writer Dr. Ruxandra Looft supports renaming Catt Hall with flying colors. 

In a recent letter to the Iowa State community, President Wendy Wintersteen addressed the need to create a formal policy for renaming buildings and monuments. This comes after decades of protest around the naming of Catt Hall as well as the recent outrage over W.T. Hornaday's racist and harmful actions. The Iowa State Daily covers this here: "President Wendy Wintersteen calls actions of W.T. Hornaday 'indefensible, reprehensible and racist.'"

The Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity wants to take a moment to recognize the role Black activists, and in particular Black womxn, have played in calling out racist, misogynistic and harmful systems. In 1995, then-director of the Sloss Center, Dr. Celia E. Naylor-Ojurongbe, penned this letter to the Iowa State Daily urging the Iowa State community to consider the weight of Catt's words and the impact honoring her has on the Black and people of color community on campus: "Can We Talk? Racism: Now and Then."

Today, 25 years later, we are asking the same questions around whose histories and identities we celebrate and whose are largely forgotten. Dismantling white supremacy is a feminist issue. Twenty-five years ago, director Celia E. Naylor-Ojurongbe urged us to continue to educate ourselves around the women's suffrage movement and Carrie Chapman Catt. Today, as the current director of the Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity, it is my belief that Carrie Chapman Catt does not represent the kind of legacy we strive to uphold. I believe we need to change the name.

With all the evidence we now have and decades of conversations, protests and calls for action behind us, the time has come to consider whether upholding the story of one is worth the silencing of many. Changing the name of Catt Hall would be a bold step toward becoming the most welcoming land-grant institution in the nation.

Sincerely,

Dr. Ruxandra Looft, Director of the Margaret Sloss Center for Women & Gender Equity

Opinion Policies

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Daily or organizations with which the author(s) are associated. 

Feedback policy: The Daily encourages discussion but does not guarantee its publication. We reserve the right to edit or reject any letter or online feedback. The goal of the opinion section is to spark civil public discourse by publishing opinions based on facts that articulate an argument. The merit of a piece's ability to further public discourse, among other factors, will be considered when determining if a piece is publication worthy. 

Letter to the Editor Submission Link

(4) comments

Steve Gregg

Since when did all women agree to be called womxn? They didn't and they won't.

Steve Greggs Worst Nightmare

Since when did any author who writes any socially progressive OpEd in the Daily agree for you to always show up and post unsolicited, conservative comments? They didn't and they never do.

Steve Gregg

Of course, lefties don’t want their propaganda criticized. They oppose free speech and want to shut dissent down, as you illustrate so handsomely. Progressive politics is intellectual manure. Your response shows that to be true, it being a non sequitur which does not address the fact that few women want to be called womxn. They find it stupid, as do we all as far as the sane world goes.

And, sorry, you are not my worst nightmare, which would be lefty barbarian rioters coming to hurt people, loot their businesses, and set them on fire. They are why I keep my shotgun loaded. You are just another cowardly loser lefty who is ashamed to put her name to her buffoonish opinions. You might well be an editor of the Daily.

Brian Mcdonough

Change the name to the "Hall for ALL the people whom Racist "Catt Hated". Why Carrie

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...

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.