Iowa State University of Science and Technology is committed to its land-grant university mission of education, research and science-based extension and outreach. Iowa State continues to advance the land-grant ideals of putting science, technology and human creativity to work to improve lives around the nation and the world. From its founding, Iowa State has opened its doors to everyone — “whether high or low in social circles, rich or poor, white or black, man or woman,” as was stated in the 1869 opening of the institution. At that time, this seemed an idealistic concept for a public university. But over the years, Iowa State has remained committed to this goal and now welcomes tens of thousands of students from Iowa, the United States and more than 100 countries. In 2005, the university established its Principles of Community — six ideals that express the university’s aspiration to become a more welcoming and inclusive community for students, faculty, staff and visitors. The Principles of Community are: Respect, Purpose, Cooperation, Richness of Diversity, Freedom from Discrimination and Honest and Respectful Expression of Ideas.
With all these long-standing commitments and aspirations in mind, Iowa State in 2020 initiated an effort to develop a clear, well-articulated policy regarding the removal of a name from university property when strong factual evidence exists that a name harms the university.
In 2020, a standing committee was formed to establish the policy and procedures to evaluate historical naming of university property. The committee was given this charge:
In recognition of Iowa State University's commitment to research and factual evidence, academic freedom and intellectual inquiry, the university charges the committee to develop a policy to ensure a consistent, evidence-based and historically thoughtful means by which to evaluate historical naming and honors. This policy will strive to provide integrity, consistency and clarity to the process in order for these principles to endure.
As stipulated in the university’s policy, the Iowa Board of Regents, which oversees Iowa’s public universities, states it will reconsider prior approval of Regent-required naming decisions in “extraordinary circumstances,” noting the following:
Reconsideration by the Board may occur in extraordinary circumstances if the prior approved naming may be damaging to the reputation of the Board or the institution; or contradictory to applicable law or to the policies, procedures or strategic objectives of the Board or institution.
The decision to permanently remove a name from university property should be taken only after thoughtful consideration and careful analysis. Those who review a name-removal issue must investigate the evidence in a reasoned, judicious and principled manner befitting an academic institution. For these reasons, the principles outlined in the university’s policy are rigorous and worded to initiate serious reflection and thoughtful perspectives. The policy and its included procedures are intended to provide guidance for both those making a request to remove a name and for those chosen to investigate thoroughly each case and present a recommendation for making a fully informed, educated and well-considered decision.
Read the full policy: Consideration of Removing Names from University Property
This policy does not pertain to honorary degrees, scholarships, awards, or endowed chairs or professorships.
Name Removal Requests
Requests are made to the Office of the President and directed to the Standing Committee for Consideration of Removing Names from University Property. Individuals may proceed to submit requests to remove a name from university property. Questions about the policy and procedures can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Process for Considering Name Removal Requests
Before making a request, review the Consideration of Removing Names from University Property Policy and the Procedures for Consideration of Removing Names from University Property, which include the guiding principles, procedures and considerations for assessing requests.
Upon receipt of a request, the Office of the President will forward the request to the chair of the Standing Committee, who will appoint three to five members of the Standing Committee to serve on an Inquiry Committee. The Inquiry Committee will review the request to verify that the requestor has provided all required information and evaluate whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed. If there is sufficient evidence to proceed, the Inquiry Committee will notify the chair of the Standing Committee, who will then appoint members of the Standing Committee to serve on a Review Committee. If there is not sufficient evidence to proceed, the Inquiry Committee will notify the requestor with an opportunity to supplement their request.
After reviewing this material, submit your request with the following information:
- Name and affiliation or connection with Iowa State University
- The property from which the name is proposed to be removed
- The specific conduct or behavior by the honoree the requestor believes is offensive
- Supporting evidence related to the policy's principles
- Oct. 20, 2022: Research continues for committee considering Catt Hall name
- May 5, 2022: Catt Hall naming review moves to draft phase
- Dec. 16, 2021: Catt review committee following up with requesters, others
- Sept. 23, 2021: Review committee delves into Catt files
- May 6, 2021: Work is underway to review the naming of Catt Hall
- March 4, 2021: Standing committee named for review of requests to rename university property