UW Oshkosh officials respond to reports of theater namesake’s Klu Klux Klan connection

Local News

Last week, UW-Madison released a report on the University’s links to the Klu Klux Klan.

The report was a part of a response to last August’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and reveals that the names two members of KKK-related groups, Porter Butts and Fredric March, are displayed prominently on campus.

UW-Oshkosh also holds a facility that bears the name of one of the two men: The Fredric March Theater.

Local Five spoke to Dr. Sylvia Carey-Butler, Assoc. Vice Chancellor for Academic Support at UWO, who says that issues with March were first raised by a student group prior to the UW-Madison report.

“(it was) brought to our attention by a group of students who were concerned we had a theater that might be named after someone who might have been involved in the Nazi party,” Dr. Carey-Butler said.

The report reveals that March was not a member of the Nazi party, but a part of a youth group afflilated with the KKK while a student at UW-Madison.

“It’s egregious, you know, to have a name of any building on any campus named after someone historically who has used their privilege, if you will, to marginalize other populations,” Dr. Carey-Butler said.

Officials say they plan on addressing the issue through “a campus conversation and process around the naming of our Fredric March Theater,” said Chancellor Andrew Leavitt in a statement released to Local Five.

Dr. Carey-Butler elaborated on that plan, saying that a series of conversations will be held before a decision is come to.

“Some people may be aware of it, some people may not be aware of it on campus,” she told Local Five. “And how do they feel about the name? Let’s give them all of the information and let’s hear from them. I think it’s important when things come up – no matter how bad it is – that you get a chance to hear all sides of everything.”

The University also plans on reviewing UW System and Board of Regent naming policies and procedures.

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