UTA alumnus questions merit of Davis Hall's namesake

Edward Everett Davis, dean of North Texas Agricultural College, pictured in May of 1946. UTA alumnus Michael Phillips is questioning the merits of the former dean.

Student Senate passed a resolution to rename Davis Hall during its last general body meeting Tuesday, citing that the namesake exhibited racist behavior.

The Senate passed the resolution “Renaming Davis Hall” with 15 votes in favor, two against and five abstentions during the virtual meeting.

Once a resolution passes the Student Senate, it moves to the Executive Branch where the Student Body president and vice president work on implementation.

Davis Hall is an on-campus building that houses administrative departments such as financial aid, records and registration, and the university president's office. It is named after former university administrator Edward Davis.

Special Affairs chairperson Blaize LaFleur said the resolution calls for no longer memorializing a president that does not represent the university today.

In 2018, Student Senate introduced a resolution to remove Ernest Hereford’s name from the E. H. Hereford University Center, but it died in committee. Davis’ beliefs were also called into question that year, specifically concerning a book he wrote.

In 1940, Davis published a fictional novel, The White Scourge, recounting his perspective on the half-century social and economic evolution through central west Texas.

The book focuses on the scourge of the cotton agricultural economy in Texas. Cotton depleted natural resources of the soil and led unintelligent people into the cotton belt, he claimed.

In the introduction of the novel, before the story began, Davis wrote, “Too much of America’s worthless human silt has filtered into the cotton belt.” He goes on to say, “The most serious rural problem in the south is not that of soil conservation, crop production, co-operative marketing, or race relationships, but that of the biologically impoverished tribes of marginal humanity — black, white, and Mexican — subsisting on cotton.”

A fictional character named Tom Leonard in Davis’ book says, “They haven’t any right to force their runts on the rest of us, and society should deprive them of their powers of procreation.”

Resolution “OMG 9-1-1!!” was killed with three votes in favor of passing it, 14 against and five abstentions.

The resolution called for students to get the option to pick different languages for emergency texts to be sent in and for contracted workers to also get the chance to sign-up for the alerts as well, LaFleur said.

Student Senate also tabled seven resolutions until next semester to conduct further research.

@rimal_shambhavi

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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