The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Unofficial bill in the works to rename Sanger Hall

By Maggie Susa

A bill proposing the unofficial renaming of Sanger Hall and removing the bust at its entrance was drafted at a meeting on Friday, Sept. 27, between Chatham Student Government (CSG) officers and members from other student organizations.

This comes on the heels of a meeting on Sept. 12 when President Dr. David Finegold addressed students’ concerns about the room’s name and outlined options for dealing with it. It’s named after Margaret Sanger, a reproductive rights activist and founder of Planned Parenthood who’s also a eugencisit.

The bill proposes that Sanger Hall in Coolidge Hall be referred to as C134 on all unofficial Chatham University websites and course documents, including “woofoo forms” and online course schedules. However, on a student’s official course registration visible through the online portal, the room would be listed as Sanger Hall.

It also proposes that the bust of Sanger be removed and replaced with plaques that condemn eugenics, racism and ableism. They’d also highlight the good things that came from Sanger’s activism. Finally, they would state Chatham’s views and emphasis on programs that promote diversity and inclusion like RISE (Retain, Involve, Strengthen, Excel), a mentorship program for students of color.

The bill argues that Chatham should return money to the donor, which gave the University an undisclosed amount of money about 25 years ago to name the lecture hall after Sanger. There’s a plaque under the bust that says the donor is anonymous, but sources in CSG claim the name of the donor and the company that would receive the money if it were returned is Qualcomm. It makes wireless telecommunications equipment.

At the meeting on Sept. 12, Dr. Finegold said the University doesn’t have the money available to return, making it a challenge for Chatham to entirely remove Sanger’s name.

CSG members believe their bill may be a way to compromise, though. Although it recommends the room be referred to as C134 on unofficial websites and documents, it technically would still be named Sanger Hall.

CSG Executive President Alex Ferrer ’20 and Vice President for Student Communications Taylor Pelow ’22 presented a draft of the bill to representatives from other student organizations, who are listed at the top of the bill as co-sponsors. They include Chatham Democrats (CD), Chatham Feminist Coalition (CFC), Chatham Student Power (CSP) and the Black Student Union (BSU).

These student groups, along with any others that would like to sponsor the bill, will review it at their next respective club meetings and vote on it. CSG is encouraging as many student organizations as possible to support the bill.

“More representation means a stronger voice,” Ferrer said.

Any student organization that would like to sponsor the bill can by contacting Ferrer or Pelow.

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