Students demanding change in Heritage Act

South Carolina News

CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA)- The Heritage Act, passed in the year 2000, prohibits Universities from changing the name of certain buildings on campus.

Tillman Hall, one of the most predominant buildings on Clemson’s campus, is named after Ben Tillman, former South Carolina governor who left a controversial legacy.

Some, like Adam Cook, a former Clemson student, doesn’t see an issue with leaving the name of Tillman Hall the way it is.

“It’s sad we have stuff like this going on, but honestly in my opinion, you look back at all of our founding fathers and really anyone throughout history, every have their own skeletons in the closet,” Cook said. 

However, current Clemson student, Matthew Spencer, is leading the way, demanding for a new name for Tillman Hall and for the Heritage Act to be repealed.

As a black man, he says he’s impacted by buildings like Tillman every day.

“That classroom, that hall has always made me feel really disgusted, but disgusted because I felt like this was a place that I didn’t belong, Spencer said.”

Other leaders in the efforts to repeal the Heritage Act like former University of South Carolina student, Helen Knight, says this is just the beginning.

“Our work would absolutely not be done if the act were appealed,” Knight said. “That would just be the first step to getting  a lot of these specific changes made. Reclaim and rename at Clemson is a great example of this. They have a larger platform of other policies and actions they would like to see Clemson make to make it a more diverse and inclusive place.”

Attorney General Alan Wilson has issued a statement saying that no supermajority vote is needed by both chambers of the Legislature to change the Heritage Act.

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