OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh announced it has changed the name of its theatre building after discovering the individual it was named after, actor Fredric March, allegedly belonged to an inter-fraternity society known as the “Ku Klux Klan.”
UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt shared on Tuesday the theatre located on 1010 Algoma Boulevard will be called the ‘Theatre Arts Center’ to better reflect its institution’s commitment to inclusion and equity.
University officials say the former name came in 1970s, when the college named the then newly constructed theatre after actor Fredric March, a graduate of UW-Madison who earned international acclaim as an Academy Award-winning film actor.
However, officials report after discovering March’s alleged involvement within an inter-fraternity society known as the “Ku Klux Klan” while a student at UW-Madison in the 1920s, UW-Oshkosh has decided to remove March’s name from its performing arts center.
UW-Oshkosh adds that while there is no evidence that the UW-Madison group March belonged to was linked to the national movement of the Ku Klux Klan in its time, Chancellor Andrew Leavitt says March’s earlier college inter-fraternal affiliation remains troubling.
“I have since heard from additional students of color, colleagues, alumni and other advocates supporting that change. Letting the Oshkosh campus theatre’s name stand would also permanently overshadow and discount the educational and artistic virtuosity we work so hard to nurture within and beyond its walls,” explains Leavitt.