Public forums coming

The FSU Committee on Renamings met again yesterday and I used my 3 minutes to again urge them to take BK Roberts name off the law school.  I also submitted the 14 petitions submitted thru this website in favor of renaming the building.  I also noted that the overwhelming majority of those who submitted the petitions said BK Roberts name on the building makes them less likely to make a contribution to the law school.

The committee agreed to hold several public forums in the near future to obtain additional input, and while no specific dates were set, the target dates were for the last week in February and first week in March.

President Thrasher tells committee to hurry up

FSU President John Thrasher came to the renaming committee meeting Feb 2 and said he wants the group to prioritize recommendations on renaming BK Roberts Hall and the Frances Eppes building/statue, and save recommendations on other campus buildings for later.  FSU's lawyer also pointed out that since the legislature originally named the building for BK Roberts, only the legislature could change or remove the name.

I spoke to the committee and with my allotted 3-minutes stressed Roberts' segregationist past and his repeated failure to follow the orders of a higher court in defense of segregation made his name inappropriate for any public building, especially a hall of learning where students are taught how to be ethical attorneys.  I also mentioned that almost 90% of those who signed the on-line petition said Roberts name on the building made them less likely to make a donation to the law school.  Tallahassee Barristers President Matt Williams (Class of '13) also spoke in favor of renaming the building.

Tallahassee Barristers promise support

I attended meeting of Tallahassee Barristers (North Florida area black attorney association) 1/18/18 and gave a brief presentation on the campaign to rename BK Roberts Hall and the Barristers pledged to support the effort both as a group and individually.  Many members expressed interest in attending an upcoming meeting of the FSU renaming committee as did the president of the law school's Black Law Student Association (BLSA).  Ironically, the Barristers meeting was held in a classroom at BK Roberts Hall.

B.K. Roberts character questioned at committee meeting

  Attended 1/12/18 meeting of FSU committee and it went well, I gave another 3 minute presentation about why B.K. Roberts Hall should be renamed and tried to distinguish B.K. from the run of the mill segregationists of his era by stressing his ethical problems stemming from his refusal to follow the directions from the U.S. Supreme Court to admit Virgil Hawkins, which violated his oath as a justice to uphold and defend the constitution that requires obeying the orders of a higher court--making his name on the FSU law school where they teach legal ethics especially problematic.  Current FSU law student Daniel Clibbon also spoke in support of the renaming.   A presentation to the committee by an FSU archivist noted several buildings were under review and that B.K. Roberts had a history of questionable character because some of his friendships interfered with his official court business and gave the appearance of impropriety.  Committee indicated a preference to come up with a renaming policy that would cover all buildings before examining any specific building renamings.  Next meetings were set for Feb 2 and Feb 14, with a separate town hall style meeting TBA.

   Also, after many hours of teaching myself web design I finished the Rename B.K. Roberts Hall Now! website and it was ready to go public.  I gave committee members a handout with the web address and asked them to consult that for facts about the B.K. Roberts story, and handed out cards with the web address to attendees including Byron Dobson from the Tallahassee Democrat and Erika Fernandez from WCTV Channel 6.  Also got the first few responses to the website's online petition with three people so far supporting the renaming of B.K. Roberts Hall, with one suggestion to rename it after Virgil Hawkins and another to rename it after Justice Joseph Hatchett, Florida's first black Supreme Court justice.