Murray Hall

Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis heard the voices of the student body and staff and is going to suggest Oklahoma A&M regents vote on removing Murray's name from Murray Hall on the OSU Campus. 

The building is named for William "Alfalfa Bill" Murray, the state's ninth governor and a noted segregationist. 

Hargis published his open letter Wednesday afternoon. 

"On behalf of Oklahoma State University, I am formally requesting that the OSU/A&M Board of Regents include on its June 19 meeting agenda a vote to remove the name “Murray” from Murray Hall and North Murray Hall on OSU’s campus," Hargis wrote. "My request is based on the history cited by many on our campus that the building’s namesake, Oklahoma’s ninth Governor William H. “Alfalfa Bill” Murray, had a record of advocacy for racist policies including segregation and the promotion of Jim Crow laws, which in effect stripped many Black Oklahomans of their constitutional right to vote.

"For many in the OSU family, the building’s name has invoked reminders of this painful past. Oklahoma State is committed to eliminating systemic racism and embracing our responsibility as a university to support solutions to the inequality and injustice our country and community faces."

Hargis said the name removal had to follow a process, adopted more than a year ago by regents, that began in the fall. It was approved by the Student Government Association, then went through two more committees before ending up with Hargis. The timing, though, wasn't exactly coincidental, as it follows on an on-campus protest and petition for name removal.

"I appreciate the leadership demonstrated by the many on our campus who have come forward in support of the name removal, including students, faculty, staff and alumni groups and the more than 5,000 individuals who have signed a Change.org petition regarding the building’s name," Hargis wrote. 

OSU A&M Board of Regents Chair Tucker Link also released a statement, saying that Murray does not align with the university's values. 

"The history associated with this building’s namesake has hurt many and is not consistent with our values of equality and justice for all," he wrote. "The Board of Regents supports OSU students, alumni, faculty members and administrators, who have called for action. This Friday, the building’s un-naming will be on our agenda."

Burns wrote that he trusts the Regents with the decision they will make Friday. 

"I am confident in the Regents and trust the considerate treatment they will demonstrate as they address this issue at Friday’s meeting," he wrote. 

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