An FSU historian addressing the committee on renaming yesterday noted his research showed BK Roberts was most likely a racist. FSU student John Cable, at the request of the committee, studied the history surrounding BK Roberts and Frances Eppes and reported his findings to the committee. Cable's findings included prosecutors describing Roberts as a "law and order type," which Cable explained was "dog whistle code" in the 1950s to communicate that someone was an "old school racist." Cable also noted Roberts seemed a consummate Southern gentleman and had also been a philanthropist.
Cable also mentioned the study relied upon in Roberts' 1957 legal opinion to justify defiance of the US Supreme Court's order to admit Virgil Hawkins to UF law school without delay because of the likelihood of "great public mischief." Cable said the study was based on questions like "What would you do if a Negro entered a swimming pool with you?" and "What would you do if you were assigned to a dormitory room with a Negro roommate?"
The committee seems closer to making a recommendation about whether or not to rename BK Roberts Hall but has yet to indicate what the finding will be. Members discussed writing an FSU policy on renamings, and mentioned a 2016 policy from Yale University as one they would like to use as a template. That policy contains a presumption against renaming, and includes among the principles to be considered during any renaming evaluation the question of whether the legacy of the namesake is fundamentally at odds with the mission of the university. A policy from University of Michigan is also being reviewed. The committee indicated it hopes to make a final recommendation on whether to rename BK Roberts Hall in the next month or so.