Message Regarding Fulbright, Brough Connections

University Relations

Editor's Note: Bill Kincaid, the acting chancellor of the U of A, released the following statement Thursday evening after action by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees regarding the names of former Sen. J. William Fulbright and former Gov. Charles Brough.


Dear U of A Community: 

As a follow-up to today's Board of Trustees meeting, I wanted to update you on decisions pertaining to the legacy of J. William Fulbright and Charles Brough on our campus. The board passed two resolutions today. One confirms the removal of Governor Brough's name from the dining facility that currently bears it, for reasons that have previously been detailed. The second affirms that Senator Fulbright's name will remain on the College of Arts and Sciences, due to his association with promoting international understanding and world peace through education.  

The Board's resolution also acknowledges that Act 1003 of 2021 prevents the university from moving or relocating monuments on public property. This resolution does, however, allow the university to add context to the Fulbright statue in its current location that "affirms the University's commitment to racial equality and acknowledges Senator Fulbright's complex legacy, including his record on international affairs, Civil Rights legislation and racial integration." University officials will begin work on developing appropriate contextualization for the statue, as directed by the Board.  

We are appreciative of the time and attention devoted by both President Bobbitt and the Board of Trustees to weighing the considerations and listening to stakeholders.  Now, it is our duty to continue to advance the larger conversation that resulted from concerns about the university's association with these individuals. From this conversation we determined we can and should be doing more to create a stronger sense of belonging among the campus community. This commitment has taken the form of a number of new initiatives, targeting students, faculty and staff, outreach and engagement, and our overall campus climate. 

For instance, University House is now being converted to a space where traditionally unhoused Greek chapters whose membership is primarily minority-based can meet as students and alumni in a welcoming atmosphere. We anticipate this space, which we are now calling Unity House, will open this fall. We'll also be expanding the Multicultural Center, launching a new visiting faculty program for underrepresented faculty, and improving access for underrepresented undergraduates from Arkansas through a new scholarship program, while emphasizing international experience and domestic experiential learning. We will also be expanding recruitment and retention plans for diversifying the campus on all dimensions.

Ultimately, I want you to know that the well-being of our campus community is always our highest priority. When faced with disagreements, we won't always agree on the best way forward. But we will always do our utmost to ensure that our students, staff and faculty know that we are glad they are here and want them to succeed in their work and their studies. Moving forward, as we prepare for a busy and active fall semester, I'm confident these new initiatives will have a positive impact on our campus climate, and contribute to a greater sense of belonging — a sense of belonging we think is essential to being a Razorback. 

Sincerely, 
Bill Kincaid, 
Acting Chancellor 

 
Contacts

John Thomas, manager of university communications
University Relations
479-575-7430, jfthomas@uark.edu

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