Debating Doak: FSU’s decision to leave stadium name unchanged sparks conversation
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Wednesday afternoon, Florida State University President’s Task Force on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion met for the final time. Their goal was to make final recommendations to send to President John Thrasher, including whether or not to rename Doak Campbell Stadium.
The group ultimately decided not to move forward with this recommendation, so the 70-year legacy of the stadium will continue at FSU.
This decision comes after months of deliberation following last summer’s petition to remove the former university president’s name from the stadium started by former FSU football player Dr. Kendrick Scott.
Scott said, in part, “While the tradition has been preserved in reflection his non-inclusive views of blacks as a segregationist is divisive, therefore his name should be removed from a stadium that has been home to many black football players helping to build the school and the tradition to what it has become today: a national treasure.”
Campbell’s grandson, Doak Campbell III, responded to the petition in an interview with WCTV last year and said, “It wasn’t because he was pro-segregationist, but he was concerned about the destiny of the school. Again, this was a time when huge expansion was going on and they were totally depended on the politicians of the day.”
One Task Force member, Cortez Brown, described why the decision or lack there of, took so long.
“The primary fork in the road, if you will, was, are we kinda trying to remove Doak Campbell and kind of put him in, if you will, a negative light,” said Brown.
Brown went on to explain why he feels the name should be changed.
“Being that we are the anti-racism, equity and inclusion task force, we’re focusing on equity and inclusion, and being that, in my opinion and through history that was presented to us, Dr. Campbell was in fact against the inclusion.”
The group decided, however, they would not recommend to change the name, leaving the legacy Campbell III felt his grandfather deserves.
“That name, I think, meant something to the destiny, to the growth of the legacy of all students who went there,” Cambell III said.
This recommendation will now be left to a new Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion Task Force if the next University President chooses to renew it for the 2021-2022 school year.
The Task Force did, however, vote to recommend the high-profile acknowledgement for the contributions on the part of black and other underrepresented minority student athletes at the stadium with the University and Athletic Department working with multiple associations to collaborate.
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