Friday, January 19, 2007

TAINTED NAMES REDUX

On Friday, January 19, Congressman Bob Ney of Ohio, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for accepting bribes. (You can read details of the story at http://dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=241072.) Late last year, Ohio University officials decided to remove Congressman Ney's name from the school's gynasium that had been named after him.

The university's decision flies in stark contrast to the inn on the campus of Ohio State University that continues to carry the name of its convicted former marketing professor, Roger D. Blackwell.

This morning, Sunday, January 21, I appeared on a CBS Sunday Morning segment, "What's In a Name?" to talk about the issue of naming buildings after people whose reputations later become tarnished. You can find a transcript of that segment at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/01/21/sunday/main2381300.shtml

You might remember that back in July 2006, readers responded to a question I asked about the Roger D. Blackwell Inn at Ohio State University in Columbus that is named after a former marketing professor who pledged $7 million to fund the building. As I wrote in my post at http://jeffreyseglin.blogspot.com/2006/07/sound-off-tainted-name.html, Blackwell was subsequently convicted of insider trading and other financial crimes.

But according to The Columbus Dispatch university officials "appear uninterested" in renaming the inn. The paper noted that so far Blackwell had given only about $1.4 million and that, given the cost of his appeal, little more likely would be forthcoming.

I asked readers if given that Blackwell had been convicted of actions that the university would hardly encourage among its students, whether his name should be taken off the building.

You can read their responses at http://jeffreyseglin.blogspot.com/2006/07/sound-off-tainted-name.html.

You can add your own thoughts on the Congressman Ney and Professor Blackwell affairs, whether given the circumstances their names should be removed from the buildings on campus, or your general thoughts about naming buildings after people who later turn out to do something that gets them into trouble.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I may be criticized for my opinion on the subject of removing people's names from buildings when something happens to make them less than a desirable person to remember - I would agree in principle but when politics is involved, I disagree - if the Democrat party had it in its power to cause the downfall of a Republican member of congress as they did with Mark Foley when they knew it for months if not years and then spread it JUST prior to the election, I think any political person like Ney should be out of bounds. People get their names on buildings for certain reason, it is my opinion that it is not proper to try to "make things right" by taking their names off the buildings.

It's a little like trying to erase the past. Ney wasn't honored with the naming of the building for his honesty per se, but for his accomplishments. In my opinion, our society, in its politically correct affectations, is willing to try to rewrite history by giving honor and withdrawing it if you mess up.

Charlie Seng

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