FSU Board of Trustees approves resolution condemning name on law building

Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 3:43 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Florida State University Board of Trustees is calling on the state legislature to change the name of its law school building.

The board voted on a resolution on Thursday afternoon supporting efforts by the University and the College to remove the name B.K. Roberts from the main law building.

B.K. Roberts, as the Florida Supreme Court’s Chief Justice “openly defied the US Supreme Court in steadfastly resisting the racial integration of Florida’s public law schools,” according to the resolution.

We share the unanimously avowed hope of the College of Law the FSU Faculty Senate and countless students and alumni that the building be renamed to reflect FSU’s core values of justice, equality, compassion, and respect,” the resolution reads.

It calls on the Florida Legislature to move swiftly in changing the name.

Roberts’ family isn’t happy with the development. His granddaughter, MaryAnne Terrell, sent a statement to WCTV, that accuses FSU President John Thrasher, among others, of doing their best to ‘run my grandfather’s name through the mud.”

I’m not happy about the situation because my grandfather was so proud of this accomplishment in his life. I will say this: my grandfather was not a segregationist. Out of everything good he did in this world, by pointing at one thing & giving him a generalized label simply isn’t fair. Now, given the current situation our country is in, it’s only a matter of time before this is settled. If the legislature decides to remove his name from the building my only hope it is renamed appropriately & not based on public opinion or matters that have nothing to do with the School of Law itself. No one, however, can ever take away the fact that B.K. Roberts is solely responsible for FSU having a School of Law.

MaryAnne Terrell

Florida State has wrestled with its history surrounding racial issues in recent years.

In 2018, the university removed a statue of founder Francis Eppes, a slave owner. The statue, which had a prominent place near Westcott Fountain, was later re-located on Mina Jo Powell Green. Then, this summer, the Eppes statue was removed from campus after renewed protests by students and social justice groups.

There are also calls to rename Doak Campbell football stadium because, critics say, the former FSU president supported segregation when he led the university from 1940-1957.

University President John Thrasher also in July appointed a new task force charged with exploring the university’s historical connections to race and ethnicity, identifying racial and ethnic disparities on campus, and implementing initiatives to support diversity.

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