UPDATE October 7, 2020: President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and the Board of Trustees approved a campus committee’s recommendation both to remove David Starr Jordan’s name from campus spaces and to take steps to make his multifaceted history as Stanford’s first president better known and understood. Stanford also will relocate a statue of Jordan’s mentor, Louis Agassiz.
July 13, 2020
The Advisory Committee on Renaming Jordan Hall and Removing the Statue of Louis Agassiz is charged with reviewing two related requests to rename Jordan Hall, one from the Department of Psychology and one from the Eugenics at Stanford History Project. The request from the Department of Psychology also includes a request to remove the statue of Louis Agassiz on the front façade of the building.
Jordan Hall, then known as the Zoology building, was named in 1917 for David Starr Jordan (1851-1931). A prominent ichthyologist and Stanford’s founding president, he also was engaged in the American eugenics movement, which promoted controlled reproduction based on genetics.
The statue, which was placed above the building’s entrance in 1902, depicts Louis Agassiz (1807-1873), who was a mentor to Jordan but has no significant association with the university. Agassiz, a renowned scholar of natural history, promoted polygenism, which holds that human racial groups have different ancestral origins and are unequal.
The committee will apply the Principles and Procedures for Renaming Buildings and Other Features at Stanford University approved in 2018 (hereafter, Principles) to evaluate the requests to rename Jordan Hall. It will also develop an approach as to how the Principles can be extended to address requests for the removal of public monuments, and apply that approach to the request to remove the statue of Louis Agassiz.
The committee will deliver its report to the President before the beginning of fall quarter 2020.
Committee Charge (pdf)
Committee Membership (pdf)
To submit input to the committee, email [email protected].