COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WCBD) — A name change could be on the way for a building on the University of South Carolina’s campus.
Some of the more notable recent names in University of South Carolina athletics are asking the school to change the name of its showpiece fitness center, arguing that the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond shouldn’t be glorified in such a way due to the segregationist views he once held.
The Presidential Commission on University History on Friday is set to take testimony pushing to rename the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center from standouts including Marcus Lattimore.
The Black student-athletes are also signatories to a memo asking the university to remove from its campuses “the names of Confederate supporters, racists, misogynists, and those who outright advocated for the subjugation of any person’s life.”
During his time in the Senate, Thurmond led a filibuster for more than 24 hours to prevent the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
An online petition is calling for the Strom Thurmond Wellness Center to be renamed after coach Dawn Staley.
“The Wellness Center needs to be named after a hard-working role model that students and the school can be proud of,” organizers wrote. “Dawn Staley is well deserving of recognition on the University of South Carolina campus. Staley is a basketball Hall of Fame player and coach, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, and was elected to carry the United States flag at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympics.”
Recently, Charleston Southern University in North Charleston removed the name of Strom Thurmond from its Student Center.
School officials say the name change has been part of a renovation plan for the building and was not a direct result of a petition that was started in May to remove his name from the building.