Damann’s wife Autumn Damann, also an EIU graduate, said Lincoln also used racist rhetoric during the debates, more so in the parts of the state, such as Charleston, where he thought it would be welcome.
“It feels very strange to have it named after a person who was clearly a white supremacist,” she said of Douglas Hall.
The sole supporter of keeping the building’s name was Brian Moushon, an EIU graduate now living in Columbus, Georgia, who said he was “on the fence,” but said the debates are historically tied to Charleston.
“Are we talking about Douglas Hall or are we talking about washing away other parts of history?” he said. “Where does it all end?”
JaDora Sailes Moore, an Eastern graduate now teaching at Indiana State University, said she understood the pride connecting the debate site but that “overlooks the rhetoric” that took place.
“We have to make a statement that we are advocates of social justice,” she said.
Following the speakers, EIU Vice President for Advancement Ken Wetstein, the Naming Committee’s facilitator, said the group is on track to send its recommendation to Glassman by the end of April.
For any change to take place, Glassman would have to decide to forward the recommendation to the university’s Board of Trustees, which has the authority to make any actual decision. Wetstein that would probably take place during the board’s meeting in June.