News


Stanford University to consider renaming facilities

Effort parallels one ongoing in Palo Alto school district

In response to student concerns over campus buildings and streets named after Junipero Serra, the 18th century California mission founder who also led violent conversion of many Native Americans to Christianity, Stanford University will form a committee to consider renaming university facilities.

This committee will "establish principles for reconsidering and renaming campus streets and buildings, and to apply those principles 'first and foremost' to places that honor Junipero Serra, whose mixed legacy as the founder of the mission network in California has raised concerns among students," Stanford said in a press release Friday.

President John Hennessy and Provost John Etchemendy announced the committee during Thursday's Faculty Senate meeting. At the same meeting, the Faculty Senate unanimously approved a motion acknowledging a resolution passed last month by both the undergraduate and graduate bodies of Stanford's student government, the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU), requesting that the university rename streets and buildings that carry the name of Serra out of respect for the indigenous and Native American communities on campus and beyond.

Campus facilities that bear Serra's name include the Serra and Junipero dorms, Serra House (which houses the Clayman Institute for Gender Studies) and Serra Mall, the street that carries Stanford's own address. (Because Stanford cannot change this street name, the ASSU resolution asks the administration to change the university's address. There is also Junipero Serra Boulevard, but that street is not included in the resolution, according to the Stanford Daily.)

David Kennedy, professor emeritus of history, has agreed to chair the committee, which will be composed of faculty, students and staff, the university said.

The Faculty Senate also passed a motion "reaffirming the senate's support for Stanford's commitment to strengthening the life and identity of the Native American community on campus; and expressing its support for critically reflecting on Stanford's historical legacy, including the use of names of people who have been associated with it," the press release states.

In addition to reviewing the names of campus buildings and sites, the senate motion suggested the committee could also review the names of "entities and activities" on campus.

Etchemendy said the university's founders, Jane and Leland Stanford, and its first president, David Starr Jordan, named many campus streets and buildings after historical California figures.

"Not all of those names are names of people that have unblemished histories," Etchemendy said in the press release. "So we want to be able to apply the principles, not just to the Serra name but to other names to determine whether or not they should be changed."

And perhaps Stanford will ultimately consider the blemished history of its own first president, whose name is carried on campus at Jordan Hall and who was an active proponent of eugenics, an early 20th-century science that promoted the reproduction of genetic traits of particular races over others.

Jordan's involvement in the eugenics moment has prompted the creation of a Palo Alto school district committee that, too, will review all school names. In February, the school board unanimously approved this committee after a parent-led petition to rename Jordan gained strong support in the community. The renaming effort was broadened in light of the fact that at least two other school namesakes — Lewis Terman and Ellwood Cubberley — were also proponents of eugenics.

The district is currently seeking applicants for the Citizen Advisory Committee for Renaming PAUSD Schools (RSC), which is expected to deliver recommendations to the board by Dec. 31, 2016. The group will be made up of four parents of current students, four members of the community at large, up to four alumni, two administrators, four faculty and staff and up to four students, according to the district.

Applicants must either reside or work within the boundaries of the school district, or a non-resident must have either graduated from the district or served as an employee in the district for a minimum of five years. The committee will be selected on or before April 11, according to the school district.

For more information and to obtain an application, email Monica Sanchez Lopez at msanchezlopez@pausd.org or by calling 650-329-3737. Applications may also be found online at the district home page: pausd.org. Applications are due by March 28.

Comments

3 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Mar 6, 2016 at 11:30 am

[Post removed.]


54 people like this
Posted by lnon
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 6, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Why, in the name of 21st century political correctness, don't they look into Leland Stanford himself? He paid Chinese workers less than the Irish workers building his railroad and in his bid for the Governorship of California warned about "keeping out the dregs of Asia." I think that is evidence enough against him and ammunition that must be used to change the name of the University itself. Agree? Isn't this a ridiculously stupid slippery slope we have encountered and/or created? 100 plus years hence, people look different in the current political and social climate versus that encountered "in the day." Give this modern day witch-hunt a rest.


13 people like this
Posted by Mrs Stanford deserves better
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Well, given Jordan's now acknowledged cover up of Mrs. Stanford's murder and his potential role in the murder itself, I think the university first owes its benefactress, the woman who rebuilt Stanford University after the earthquake at significant sacrifice to herself, the justice of at least renaming the Jordan namesakes. Anything else is like naming the monument in DC to Lincoln the Booth Memorial.


11 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 6, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Cool.

New street names coming...

Orange Grove

Pink Lane

Blue Block

While you are at it, just change Stanford U to Rainbow U.


3 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 6, 2016 at 1:12 pm

@Inon, it's true that Leland Stanford paid his Chinese workers miserable wages and was a racist and a ruthless robber baron, but many contemporary US corporations eliminate American jobs in favor of third world salve labor without much outcry. Junipero Serra lead what could be construed as a genocide campaign against the indigenous people of California, so there is a big difference. To the descendent of his victims, and I have talked to several of them over the years, his name has a similarly chilling and horrifying affect as Himmler or Eichmann has for jewish people. There is no comparison between Junipero Serra and Leland Stanford.


15 people like this
Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 6, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Such a waste of time.

This issue is also under discussion by some of the Ivy League Universities, stemming from namesakes at those schools who were racists, eugenics believers or slave owners in their legacies.

Their flaws cannot be dismissed, nor can their achievements that otherwise led to their recognition.

These schools are smart enough to note the flaws in the larger context of these people under scrutiny, and should make sure that such flaws are part of the context.

Repudiating these historic and important members of the contry's legacy is folly. Name everyting "Trump."


18 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2016 at 1:41 pm

For those of us not all that familiar with Serra's "genocide" of so-called Native Americans, perhaps someone in the know could provide some details of his work? Most genocide involves mass killings, often preceded by a war, or forced detention of the oppressed people. So, just how many people are known to have been killed by Serra? How did he do this, since he was only one man? Did he have an army of priests to help him?

Perhaps some details of what happened that has people riled up so much would help the rest of us understand the basic issues.


3 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 6, 2016 at 1:50 pm

>> Their flaws cannot be dismissed, nor can their achievements that otherwise led to their recognition.

Talking about hold up two imaginary rulers and trying to compare them without
really looking at what happened. Yes, we are judging the past by the standards
of the present. So what?

To most people of today the very idea of trying to look at the past with a new
point of view is something they have no practice with and no understanding of.

I don't think there is any doubt that anyone that ever lived knows instinctively
that slavery, oppression and genocide is wrong, and that other people from other
cultures are the same kind of animal we are. Our cultural world views are built
up and handed down to allow us to righteously stay in those mindsets and
take advantage of them.

Cultural views that come right down to the names of things and the instituions
we have. Western culture would not have had the time, leisure and ability to
develop science and technology perhaps had it not taken so much from the
rest of the world, but it is probably a good bet that most advanced would have
come sooner or later. Ideas come from the right circumstances not the right
people.

I don't pretend to know the best way to name things, to memorialize or
remember the past, but that should not be the question. The question
should be how to include and make comfortable all people here now.
There is little doubt in my mind that much of what all societies do is to
allow an institution for the elite of that society to control, defend and
expand, to exploit, so collect resources and disgard liabilities.

In most cases this does not help anyone but a few at the top, and when
faced with changing or dire circumstances has not even helped whole
societies to survive. ( read "Collapse" byh Jared Diamond )

The world is now becoming globally aware and lets hope that this can
continue in the best manner as opposed to being contain and controlled
by the past. Part of how to do that is to get rid of the things that have
negative connections to the past ... such as the Confederate Flag in
South Carolina.

By getting rid of mental and cultural entanglements such as that, we
can start to give everyone the space to live in a an equal society without
constantly having to be bombarded by the past.


2 people like this
Posted by C. Clifford
a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2016 at 3:15 pm

". . . led violent conversion . . ." What is your source for this? Saint Junípero Serra, pray for us!
SaintSerraBook.com


4 people like this
Posted by If Serra, why not Jordan?
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 6, 2016 at 3:53 pm

Interesting that Stanford is focusing its renaming on Padre Serra when they have a sizable skeleton (David Starr Jordan) in their own closet. One can only hope that they do justice to Jordan (Hall) in the renaming process given what was recently brought to light about his Eugenics past (interesting link below). Perhaps that is striking to close to home, or the PAUSD Jordan renaming brouhaha is a big misunderstanding, in which case it would be nice for 'Stanford' to step forward and explain that to the rest of us ...

Web Link


17 people like this
Posted by lnon
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 6, 2016 at 4:12 pm

@Mauricio: Methinks you are splitting hairs. So how much worse is 1000 dead than 100 dead? By your own measures isn't every life sacred? Then there can't be that much of a difference between Stanford, who brought Chinese here to build the railroad, where many (hundreds) perished, and Serra (who was trying to bring Christianity and European civilization, science, technology and culture to indigent tribes of hunter-gatherer "natives"). What I'm trying to say is that if you try to apply current, modern standards to history, strange things happen. If we did a very thorough, especially politically correct job of it, nothing would be named for people (Kennedy was a philandering son of a bootlegging Nazi appeaser, Washington a slave owner, anyone else you would like to throw in the mix??). We would have only Palo Alto HS#1, HS#2, maybe Palo Alto University (but other trees were slighted in the naming of Palo Alto, as if only the largest, oldest ones should be honored thusly...) See how ridiculous this gets very quickly?


2 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 6, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Inon, there are many Jewish residents in Palo Alto, some of them descendants of holocaust survivors. Would it be OK to name a new street or a school Dr. Joeseph Mengele School because not naming it after Dr. Mengele would be splitting hair? It's about the victims and their descendents. If it hurts and offends them, those who aren't victims should have no say. Father Serra didn't bring European civilization to those you consider savages. They had their own culture that was, at least in the opinion of some advanced than the barbaric Inquisition originated fanatical Catholicism people like Junipero Serra forced the indigenous Californians adopt. Resistance was met with torture and murder. We shouldn't be preaching to the victims. We can never undo what was done to them, but the least w should do is not name institutions, schools and streets after them.


35 people like this
Posted by Senator Stanford
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 6, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Leland Stanford Junior University is named after my son, who died as a teenager, not after me. He never did harm to anyone or anything except a few butterflies.


18 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2016 at 6:15 pm

There is a movement to change names everywhere. From Palo Alto, to Harvard, to South Africa to Oxford - at least that's what I have been reading lately.

The problem is all human beings have done some things which are problematic. Sometimes methinks the very things we are doing now will one day be deemed offensive.

I think we should name everything John Doe 1, Jane Doe 1. John Doe 2. Jane Doe 2. ad infinitum.

What a vanilla, bland world we are going to be living in.


7 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2016 at 8:07 pm

> It's about the victims and their descendents

Hmm .. setting aside the fact that the buildings erected by the University are on private property and there are no ownership claims by people trying to force these name changes—what’s also likely true is that none of the “victims and their descendants” are in the group harassing the University.


20 people like this
Posted by Barry Soetoro
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 6, 2016 at 8:16 pm

David Starr Jordan was a progressive in his era. He was interested in eugenics because he felt that would improve society. So much for the mores of a century ago.

If Jordan were alive today, I have little doubt that he would be an advocate for contemporary progressive positions such as greater federal action on climate change, increased funding for Planned Parenthood, and a single payer healthcare system.


8 people like this
Posted by Commentator
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 6, 2016 at 8:30 pm

"If Jordan were alive today, I have little doubt that he would be an advocate for contemporary progressive positions such as greater federal action on climate change, increased funding for Planned Parenthood, and a single payer healthcare system."

Maybe, but he chose the wrong era to get born in and he has to pay the price.


2 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 6, 2016 at 10:07 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Stanford is to be congratulated for its decision to follow suit in deciding, as PAUSD has, to consider renaming facilities. They couldn't have a better resource for this project than Professor of History (emeritus) David Kennedy, who will chair the committee.

I hope the PAUSD committee will be able to access the wealth of historical information on the ideas and activities of Stanford's first president, David Starr Jordan, that must exist at Stanford. Many questions have been raised concerning the importance of Jordan's work to achieve eugenicist objectives and how much it mattered to him.

One question I have is whether he displayed any moral ambivalence about his eugenicist views and policies before his death in 1931. By that time Franz Boas and others had developed many of the concepts of Anthropology, a discipline that contradicted most of the racist, ethnocentric notions driving eugenicists' assessment that non-Nordic Europeans were morally and intellectually inferior.


36 people like this
Posted by LSJU79
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2016 at 11:04 pm

Inon,

Uh... "Stanford" is not named after Leland Stanford. Leyland Stanford Junior University is named after Leland and Jane's only child, who died of typhoid fever at the age of fifteen.


26 people like this
Posted by LSJU79
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2016 at 12:00 am

Contraction of Leland Stanford Junior University to the more corporate "Stanford" is the unfortunate result of a misguided branding effort, aimed at transforming Leland Stanford Junior University's identity into some sort of uber University of Phoenix.

Universities seem to attract the "branding" experts that are not talented enough to ply their trade in the real world. "Stanford" is not the only university suffering from the myopic schemes of these soulless corporate mimics.

Brand "experts" recently tried to change the University of California identity... until the Alumni rebelled.


"UC Logo Fail: Updated Design Fails To Represent University Of California"
Huffpost Arts & Culture: December 15, 2012 Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside
on Mar 7, 2016 at 10:17 am

It is long past time to rename the university as Leland Stanford was a hated oppressor and generally evil rich person. Instead, it should be named for Stalin as Stalinism is the kind of history-erasing thought that is promoted there: "Joseph Stalin University." Forward, comrades!


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 7, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

I believe there's an important distinction to be made in all these naming issues between private entities like Stanford University and public, like Palo Alto Unified School District.

If Stanford decided to drop the Serra name from one of the dorms at Wilbur and rename it Stalin House (an unlikely decision, to be sure) it wouldn't be considered an expression of the public will since it's Stanford's to name. But for PAUSD to affirm all of its current school names at the end of its deliberations would reflect the public will of Palo Alto's current residents, not just those of decades past.


4 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2016 at 4:01 pm

> But for PAUSD to affirm all of its current school names
> at the end of its deliberations would reflect the public will
> of Palo Alto's current residents, not just those of decades past.

Ah .. without this renaming issue being presented to the public in some way that allows everyone to vote (not just registered voters)—then no matter what the decision of the PAUSD Board, the public, as a whole, will not have had much to say about the decision.

For better or worse, decision making like this is one of the benefits, or detriments, of our being a representative democracy. The idea that decisions made in the past are inherently suspect and should be revisited by a better educated class of people, like Palo Alto’s current political class, sets the stage for the changes in names of buildings, even possibly the rewriting of history to advance this group, or that’s, agendas. Most people probably would like to know that the school from which they graduated will be there when their kids come along. Otherwise, we set the stage for having no history as a town, state, country and a people.


16 people like this
Posted by LSJU alum
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2016 at 8:41 pm

If only Father Junipero Serra could have donated a lot of cash in advance to Stanford, the buildings and streets that bear his name would be his namesakes forever.


29 people like this
Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 8, 2016 at 9:16 am

In the spirit of political correctness, FDR's name should be removed from all public entities and the US mint should stop coining the dime. After all, FDR imprisoned tens of thousands of Japanese Americans. How egregious is that? Revisiting history like this is absurd and a waste time and money.


7 people like this
Posted by Rich W.
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 8, 2016 at 11:20 am

Rich W. is a registered user.

The "Junipero" dorm is named for the juniper tree -- not for Father Serra, as far as I'm aware. Most sections of Wilbur Hall are (or originally were) named after trees or geological features.


22 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2016 at 11:31 am

This is a very slippery slope & I hope the committee recognizes that. Stripping names from roads and buildings starts to feel a little too much like the Cultural Revolution purge in China... after Serra, who's next? Hoover? Knight? Arrillaga? Stanford?

I'm not completely familiar with all of Junipero Serra's misdeeds - and if his name is erased from the campus, maybe I never will be - but I think some would argue that he saved a great many souls and played an important role in making California the place it is today. That's a balance that people in the job of education need to consider.


Like this comment
Posted by Cougar
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2016 at 11:39 am

I would love to see Jordan Middle School renamed for an astounding Palo Alto educator, Herman Ohme. What a positive difference he has made for over half a century of commitment to the kids of Palo Alto.


10 people like this
Posted by WONDERING
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 8, 2016 at 11:41 am

How will all these name changes affect map web sites, GPS devices, etc, etc?

WILL WE BE ABLE TO FIND ANY PLACE ANYMORE?

It may lead to mass confusion ...


1 person likes this
Posted by Interested in the Topic
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2016 at 12:31 pm

In case you are interested in more US history of Eugenics, Terri Gross' show Fresh Air featured an interview with author Adam Cohen. Here's a link to the fascinating interview of the treatment of Eugenics by our own Supreme Court. Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Interested in the Topic
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2016 at 12:31 pm

In case you are interested in more US history of Eugenics, Terri Gross' show Fresh Air featured an interview with author Adam Cohen. Here's a link to the fascinating interview of the treatment of Eugenics by our own Supreme Court. Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2016 at 12:58 pm

Have the towns and institutions done background checks on all of the folks who donate money for buildings in exchange for the buildings being named after them. I wonder if there are circumstances under which Stanford would refuse those types of donations, or maybe they already have.


6 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 8, 2016 at 4:57 pm

If the current university administration is willing to change the name of the school from the name Leland and Jane gave it (Leland Stanford Junior University), to the more corporate "Stanford", why would anyone think they care a hoot about Junipero Serra, or David Starr Jordan?


8 people like this
Posted by Stan Hutchings
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 8, 2016 at 5:36 pm

Please don't spend time and money changing well-recognized and long-standing names! It is a frivolous waste of time and money that could be better spent on education (for example, why the name was bestowed in the first place, some historical context, and a discussion of the ethics and morality of the persons honored by naming something after them).
I have volunteered to be on Citizen Advisory Committee for Renaming PAUSD Schools (RSC) so I can try to prevent a renaming fiasco. I wrote
I am a member of the community at large, and parent of two Walter Hays, Jordan/JLS and Paly graduates. My grandchildren will go to El Carmelo in a few years.
I would like to apply for membership in the Advisory Committee. I hope to be a voice of reason and responsibility to steer the committee away from hasty and ill-advised reactions.
Hopefully we can get a committee that will reflect the reluctance of change for change sake, no matter the cost and confusion that may result.


25 people like this
Posted by Chip
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 8, 2016 at 6:04 pm

I think we are drowning in a tsunami of excessive "political correctness" created by people who have a lot of time & desire for attention. This can continue as infinitum if we all seek to call attention to misdeeds of generations past, and often past remembering anything but a surname which now identifies a place.

Wouldn't it be better to exert energy on behalf of improving the plight of currently oppressed people or groups? Otherwise, I can hardly wait until someone decides to be publicly offended by the opinions or personal "sins" of many authors for whom some of our local streets were named. Acknowledge historical errors, give thanks that we've progressed, but concentrate on moving forward. It's OK to let history remind us that a perfect world did not, does not, and will never exist.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jim Lyons
a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 9, 2016 at 2:29 am

Stanford was indeed named for Leland Stanford Jr. Here's his photo along with a bit about him and the school's founding. Web Link Having read a little about his life, I for one am glad the University was named for him, although it was a tragedy it had to happen.

How about the school's name "Stanford" coming about through common - and sensible - usage? Call it a nickname, if you will. Here's bit from Wikipedia: "Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university in Stanford, California, and one of the world's most prestigious institutions."

And I hate to be the one to deliver ants to anyone's picnic, but Jane Stanford died in 1905, the year before the great Earthquake, making it unlikely she assisted in the rebuilding of the University after the 'quake.


2 people like this
Posted by Hitler High
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 9, 2016 at 8:45 am

Just wondering why the Germans don't have schools named after Hitler anymore (at some point there were supposedly over 400).
From some of the comments on this thread having a Hitler High here and there would seem like a good idea, a reminder of the imperfect past, an opportunity to remember and be inspired to do better. After all he had a lot going for him back then. He was the greatest jobs president Germany ever knew, and he managed racial, cultural and religious diversity in a very unique way.

Or perhaps sometimes it is better to call out things that we know to be wrong, and do something about it, even if some mock it as oh so PC.
Which brings me back to David Starr Jordan and the US eugenics movement, which was noticeably more advanced than the Nazi vision during Jordan's days. Historian Ed Black sums it up nicely here:
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2016 at 11:32 am

> Just wondering why the Germans don't have schools
> named after Hitler anymore (at some point there were
> supposedly over 400).

Really? There are people living in Palo Alto who would ask such a question in this late date? Well, the link below should remind anyone who might be wondering about why the Germans don’t name things after Hitler—

Berlin (1945):
Web Link

But let’s not forget that the German people joined wholeheartedly with Hitler, and so they know themselves to be as guilty of destroying their country as he was.

Most of the Eugenics movement promoters were education, and medical, professionals. It would not be a surprise to learn that most people in the 1920s and 1930s were unaware of what the pro-Eugenics people were up to. It was not until the 1940s when the horrible consequences of taking this idea to an illogical conclusion when most people began to understand what can happen when bad ideas can destroy millions of lives.


3 people like this
Posted by jerry99
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 9, 2016 at 11:40 am

Another example of Political Correctness on University campuses. If the students would spend more time studying and less time bitching about meaningless nonsense the US could move higher than 23rd place on international STEM rankings.
And, this year, as everyone expected, the SAT exam has changed. And of course, it is to increase the number of minorities on campuses. The US SAT scores have dropped each years for the last 5 years and now will change to allow students that require remedial high school classes into universities.
I wonder if the Roman empire has similar approaches as it dissolved.
The US continues to flush itself down the toilet of the world. At least we had several decades of self achievement, self respect and technological achievements after World War II befre it dissolves into obscurity.


5 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 9, 2016 at 12:04 pm

High Hitler - Attempting to associate Jordan with Hitler is absurd - Hitler was responsible for about 50 million deaths and I assume the Jordan number was ZERO. Your comments just demonstrate how silly this renaming effort is.

Eugenics has been a science for thousands of years - the name came from ancient Greece. The movement was very popular in Jordan's era and it was popular all over the world - supporters included people like Hoover and Churchill. Does that mean we need to change the name of the Hoover Tower? The name was scorned after the second world war, but the science is still out there - we now call it things like abortion, gene therapy, egg selection, genetic engineering etc.


5 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Mar 9, 2016 at 2:01 pm

I agree with Alphons! This renaming effort is silly and a Joke. Just a distraction from the very real problems of this once great nation.


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 9, 2016 at 9:21 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Many posters suggest that they know what the outcome of the discussion at Stanford over renaming features bearing St.(formerly Frey) Junipero Serra's name will be, and are upset that the issue is being raised at all. I have no idea what the outcome will be, other than that we will all learn a great deal if we keep an open mind and pay attention to the arguments raised and the feelings behind them.

Stanford, with regard to Serra, and PAUSD, with regard to Jordan, are addressing the question of whose voice matters. In our town school matter, it dismays me that so many TS posters believe that Palo Alto residents who attended Jordan in the often long-ago past are the ones who must be listened to. I believe it is the current students and those to come who matter.

At the very least, I hope that no one who goes through Palo Alto schools in the future will be able to say, as many posters have, that they have no knowledge about, or interest in, who Jordan Middle School was named for, or what the eugenics movement was and how deeply involved Stanford was in it.


2 people like this
Posted by Distant Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 9, 2016 at 9:40 pm

"Just a distraction from the very real problems of this once great nation."

You have an easy fix: kick out all your Republicans. Remember: America wins its wars with Democrats in office and loses them as the Republicans fumble.


Like this comment
Posted by Those Republicans!
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 9, 2016 at 10:38 pm

Lincoln, a Republican, won a war.

But speaking of Lincoln in the context of renaming things because their namesake had faults by current standards: Lincoln was a racist. He committed to never support or allow social equality for negroes, and considered that they should only get a fraction of a vote. And other things. He defended his emancipation activity by saying it was the only way to preserve the union, not on the grounds of racial equality.

Sure, later on he said things that sound more politically correct. But he was undeniably a racist.

Shall we remove the Lincoln Memorial?


Like this comment
Posted by True or troll?
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 10, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Is this a troll or is this true of Lincoln?


2 people like this
Posted by Scholar
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 10, 2016 at 12:44 pm

"Is this a troll or is this true of Lincoln?"

It is true. However, in all other respects Lincoln would be branded a RINO by the contemporary Republican Base and its high priests Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Coulter, etc., etc. There's also that issue of uncompensated taking, when he freed the slaves but never paid their owners fair market value for them.

So it is dubious whether Lincoln won the Civil War as a real Repubkican. And the cradle of the contemporary Republican Base, the Confederacy, never acknowledged his legitimacy as president, or even that it lost the war.


Like this comment
Posted by PA refugee
a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Y'all have forgotten about Dixiecrats and the very libreal nature of racisim.


2 people like this
Posted by Scholar
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 10, 2016 at 8:26 pm

"Y'all have forgotten about Dixiecrats and the very libreal nature of racisim."

Not at all. The Dixiecrats were born in 1948, when Strom Thurmond and his band of hardcore southern segregationists bolted the Democratic Party after Harry Truman firmly advocated nationwide racial integration. Truman had recently integrated the armed services, and his public support of national desegregation was the last straw for Thurmond.

A quarter century later, after the ultraliberal Lyndon Johnson pushed desegregation and voting rights legislation through Congress, a thoroughly disgusted Strom Thurmond led his flock of Dixiecrats into the welcoming arms of the Republican Party under the Nixon-Agnew Southern Strategy. They found a very congenial home there and never left. Thurmond died decades later as the quintessential Republican.

Nobody has ever before accused Strom Thurmond of being a liberal. Where do you get your alternative history?


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Posted by PA refugee
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2016 at 4:34 pm

And Johnson was a racist who hated blacks and bussed Mexicans across the border to get votes. It was Eisenhower who drafted a civil rights bill years earlier just to get shut down by a Democrat controlled congress. Who was in controll of congress when Johnson was president?


2 people like this
Posted by Scholar
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 13, 2016 at 5:31 pm

"And Johnson was a racist who hated blacks and bussed Mexicans across the border to get votes.

Which direction did he bus them?


"It was Eisenhower who drafted a civil rights bill years earlier just to get shut down by a Democrat controlled congress."

...whose disaffected members were warmly welcomed by the Republicans under their Southern Strategy after LBJ's civil rights legislation passed. Republicans have been chipping away those civil rights ever since.


"Who was in controll of congress when Johnson was president?"

Democrats, of course. Why did you ask?


4 people like this
Posted by Don't Destroy Our Cultural History
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2016 at 9:19 pm

There have been countless cases of discrimination, slavery, and genocide over the course of human history. "Political correctness" is 100% tied to the time and place and in many cases a "great leader" is viewed very differently in history than he/she was in real time, or a great leader has a mixed review in later times. In most cases, great leaders who did great things were also guilty of what we now see as inappropriate beliefs and/or behavior.

How many significantly influential (for the positive) people in history have no skeletons in the closet, or no examples of now frowned-upon beliefs/behaviors? In most cases, they were acting in complete accord with the common beliefs of their time. That does not mean those beliefs were correct, or that they meet what we believe today, it just means they don't necessarily deserve to have their accomplishments thrown aside because they happened to exist at a different time when common beliefs were very different.

What should be celebrated about the great figures in history, is the great things they did in support of furthering good things. Insisting on measuring historical figures against today's societal and cultural norms is nonsensical. How many of us can be model citizens today, and believe 100% that our beliefs will not be out of favor 100-300 years from now?

Stanford University would not exist were it not for the generosity of Leland and Jane Stanford, so just quit it on that one. David Starr Jordan did great things, even though he was associated (leader?) of a popular (progressive!) belief at the time. My only beef with David Starr Jordon would be if he was involved in the murder of Jane Lathrop Stanford (or any murder) as that was clearly illegal and immoral, even in that time.

If we start trying all of our great leaders from the past by our current cultural beliefs we will lose all context of the truly great leaders of each given time.

Please people, view historical people within the historical period in which they lived, not in the context of what we believe or how we live today. It is the only way we can retain our cultural history and appreciate the truly great people *of their time*.


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Posted by Don't Destroy Our Cultural History
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2016 at 9:24 pm

P.S.

@ Mrs Stanford deserves better:

No, it's not the same thing at all. Booth was never accredited with anything other than murdering Lincoln. A person known only for murdering another person (a great person, as it were) is not a person schools, streets, universities, or any other public institution would/should be named after. Nice try though.

Historical context is the only fair way to judge historical figures.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2016 at 11:42 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Stanford seems to consider David Starr Jordan an embarrassment about whom the less said the better, although Stanford Magazine, a publication of the Stanford Alumni Association, ran an article in 2003 about Jordan's interference in the investigation of his patroness's poisoning death. It makes a strong case. The book-length study by Robert W.P. Cutler, M.D. was published by Stanford University Press that same year.

Then in its Jan/Feb 2010 issue Stanford Magazine carried a lengthy lukewarm/negative account (available online) of Jordan's tenure as president of Stanford. He was dismissed from the presidency in 1913 and given the title of chancellor, which he held until his retirement in 1916.

At that time, Ray Lyman Wilbur took the reins, with with Herbert Hoover's strong backing. He quickly became a very effective president, according to Stanford Magazine's Jan/Feb 2016 profile of him (available online), and ably guided Stanford to become a well-financed, highly respected, modern university over the next 27 years.

PAUSD should have named the Middle School, when it opened in 1991, for Wilbur instead of Jordan.

Two recent books shed a lot of light on eugenics and the progressive movement of the early 1900s. "Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck" by Adam Cohen (2016) and "Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics & AmericanEconomics in the Progressive Era" by Thomas Leonard (2016). They should be helpful in the debate.

It would be a significant public service if a Stanford professor familiar with the Progressive Era and the eugenics controversy gave a public lecture to inform the community about current scholarship in the field.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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