FSU’s Black Student Union demanding removal of Eppes statue, name from building

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 6:39 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The national wave of action against controversial monuments is once again hitting Florida State University’s campus.

On Monday, FSU’s Black Student Union wrote a letter demanding school President John Thrasher remove the statue of Francis Eppes and rename Eppes Hall, home to the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Eppes played a role in getting higher education in Tallahassee in the 1850s, but was a slave owner.

FSU relocated his statue last year and added a plaque with historical context.

Now, the group behind the new letter believes relocation wasn’t enough.

Olivia Hopkins was the 2019 Homecoming Queen, and one of sixteen students, alumni, and community leaders to author the letter.

“Moving the statue does not fix the issue, it solidifies that it’s OK that we have the statue on our campus, and negates black’s feelings about having a slave-owner on campus,” she said.

The letter recommends Eppes Hall be renamed after C.K. Steele, the Tallaahssee Civil Rights icon.

Miles Feacher is a fourth year student, and has led an online movement to rename Eppes and remove the statue.

“I’m hoping for immediate response and immediate change,” he said. “I know the history of why these things must change, and why they have to go.”

An advisory panel issued a recommendation in 2018 for Eppes’ statue, which had been located in a prime spot near Wescott Fountain. The panel asked for it to be removed and for the building to be renamed.

President John Thrasher found a compromise, relocating the statue behind Eppes Hall, but keeping the name the same.

A FSU spokesperson couldn’t confirm Monday if Thrasher’s office had received the new demands. But Thrasher has indicated he is open to a conversation with recent demands to rename Doak-Campbell Stadium making headlines.

The call to remove Eppes’ statue isn’t universally loved. When this story was first published to social media Monday evening, those commenting were quick to pick a side.

Descendants of Eppes still live in the area, and have publicly defended the statue in the past. WCTV reached out to two members of the family Monday night, but they did not immediately return a request to comment.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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