The change comes after more than a year of extensive research and evaluation by the campus community, including the board and its appointed committees, into the statewide concern surrounding buildings named in recognition of Charles B. Aycock, who served as governor of North Carolina from 1901 to 1905.
At the time of the auditorium’s naming in the 1920s, Aycock was recognized for his leadership and support for public education in North Carolina, including his support for the women’s college in Greensboro. Over the past several years, questions have been raised regarding the appropriateness of this name on several North Carolina campuses in light of Aycock’s beliefs and actions regarding race. Of special concern has been his support of white supremacy and his role in the disenfranchisement of black voters in the early 1900s.
A subcommittee composed of trustees, faculty, staff, students and community representatives, met multiple times over the course of the year and invited a panel of experts to present the history of former Governor Aycock. At the conclusion of its morning meeting last Thursday, the subcommittee issued the following recommendation: “The Subcommittee respectfully recommends that the auditorium facility no longer be named Aycock Auditorium.”
The findings for the recommendation are as follows: “The Subcommittee finds that while Governor Charles B. Aycock had many accomplishments, Governor Aycock’s beliefs, actions, and resulting reputation related to matters of racial discrimination are contrary to the best interests of the University given its current mission and values.”
The Advancement Committee, acting as a committee of the whole, met in the afternoon. Following additional discussion and deliberation, the board voted unanimously to rename the auditorium.
At the Friday trustees meeting, the board voted that the auditorium will be identified as the UNCG Auditorium until a permanent name is selected.