The issue of race has long plagued Duke University’s history, and having a dormitory named after white supremacist Charles Aycock is doing nothing to rectify the tender situation.
Though Aycock championed education and defended child-labor laws, the fact that white supremacy was such a large part of his agenda as a politician cannot be ignored. While it does seem appropriate to maintain the title Aycock on the dormitory because of Aycock’s commitment to education for all, the larger issue must not be ignored. As an institute of higher education, the administration and higher powers of Duke University must recognize the shadow that is cast by maintaining the name “Aycock” on Aycock Residence hall onto Duke’s otherwise beautiful campus.
Though the dorm itself is not aesthetically displeasing, it is still a mentally offensive to think that the University I call home could possibly champion a political agenda such as that of Charles Aycock. Following from this, I argue that Duke University change the name of Aycock dorm in order to continue the process of rectifying previous racial issues and avoid future conflict about their stance on issues of race. I also believe that this is an opportunity that must not be missed by the university to modernize our campus, and that the dorm should be renamed for a more recent political or cultural figure that has only positively influenced our community.