Simkins Hall was built in the 1950s and was the first air-conditioned dormitory at the University of Texas. However, the school is debating renaming it due to the racist past of William Simkins. He was a popular law school professor who taught at the school for 30 years, however he was also an early organizer of the Ku Klux Klan in Florida.
After weeks of deliberations and two public hearings, the regents will vote on whether or not to remove the name. Gregory Vincent, Texas vice president for diversity and engagement believes that the University’s reputation for diversity and it’s public image is compromised by having the name on the building. However, Dave Player, associate editor for the Daily Texan student newspaper, wrote, “Honoring an individual by putting his or her name on a facility does not mean the University is condoning every aspect of that individual’s character, (If)
a perfect character record is a requisite for honoring an individual then our campus would likely be composed of nameless buildings.”