Dear Regents – Students Across the U.S. Are Demanding Building Names that Reflect 21st Century Values (And They’re Winning)

MSU Queer Straight Alliance StudentsMSU Queer Straight Alliance Students

by Cowgirl

When These Students Run the World, We’ll All Be Better Off 

On May 19th, MSU students drove to Havre to speak to the Board of Regents against renaming the computer science department the Greg Gianforte School of  Computer Science Computing as a condition of his $8 million donation.

Citing his contributions to an anti-gay hate groups and his work against non-discrimination ordinances, the students pointed out Gianforte’s values conflict with those of the university and amounted to an institutional level of acceptance of discrimination and hatred.

As MSU Queer-Straight Alliance Secretary Anna Stone pointed out in the Bozeman Chronicle, this isn’t about his political views, its about his intensive focus on discrimination against people he sees as different:

It’s important to defend Montana student values, and Gianforte’s values do not go hand in hand with MSU’s and are not in support of LGBQT students.

The regents’ decision to allow Gianforte to demand a building and department be named after him is puzzling, given that the rest of the world is actively changing the names of college buildings that are named after people who supported discrimination or segregation, or who owned slaves when slavery was legal 200 years ago, or were responsible for other atrocities, or were racists, or otherwise did not reflect 21st century values, even if they were otherwise considered some kind of big shot in their day.

One wonders whether the regents would have consider whether they would name David Duke School of Political Science.  Whether there is a line for them, and where that line is drawn, or whether to them is a question of whether the price is right. Would we have a David Duke School for the price of $20 million? $40 million?  What do the regents think the difference is, exactly, between one kind of discrimination and another?

This video, which now has over 16,000 views, is worth watching.  (Hint, that’s a lot.  For comparison, note that videos posted by the Cascade County GOP cavalcade of crazy get an average of 8 views each.)

These movements to update the names of these buildings to reject 21st century values at colleges have all been led by students. Perhaps it’s time the regents start paying attention.

Share

23 Comments on "Dear Regents – Students Across the U.S. Are Demanding Building Names that Reflect 21st Century Values (And They’re Winning)"

  1. Remember, these Regents were appointed by Bullock. Their decisions are a reflection of him. If the Regents couldn’t get their act together after the Blewett Law School renaming, then what’s to make anyone think they would now?
    While Gianforte’s arcane views on equality are absurd, what is even more absurd is hearing the warning shot that something needs addressed and doing nothing.
    It should be noted that the Commissioner of Higher Education’s Deputy Commissioner, Kevin J McRae, stated last week during this discussion, “We don’t play politics. What we do in the University System is treat all donors and proposed donors equally.”
    As these entitled lackeys turn the Montana higher education system into nothing more than a business for Commissioner Christian to again drive into the ground, we should all be loathe to wonder what this group of enlightened individuals would have decided if faced with a more abhorrent potential donor, say the Kochs or Hitler.
    OCHE and the Regents are, by and large, comprised of underqualified individuals who are consistently unaccountable for their actions or ability to plan. They tow that Bullock line.
    If these two nominees (a zany zealot or a politician whose dedication to the status quo and party nonsense, which has blinded him to the obvious) are all we have to choose from this November, we’re in much greater trouble than Cowgirl will ever let on.

    • TOE the line. As in put your TOE on the STARTING LINE in a race. The biggest threat Montana faces is voter apathy which allowed the TeaPublicans to pull off their coup. Let’s hope some more sensible voters get off the couch and pay attention in the coming years. Bernie’s rEvolution is about the Progressives coming out and voting in every election every year and not just for Presidential races. This combined with (finally) a balanced SCOTUS may allow us to recover our democratic republic before the oligarchs solidify their grip.

  2. Blewett wasn’t running for office, and neither was his son. This LAPSE of ethical conduct and moral judgement is VERY disturbing and Cruzado’s indifference appalling.

  3. As I stated before, I am very disgusted that MSU and Cruzado allowed themselves to be bought and paid for by GG. I know I will not be donating to them this year!

  4. I have no words to describe how disgusted I am with this travesty. Good post BTW.

  5. I am an alumni of MSU and I will not be renewing my membership. I was always so proud of this school but this is unbelievable.

  6. So proud of MSU students standing their ground on this. Students come first and they will always have my support!

  7. Come on folks, of course MSU and the Regents should reject the donation, and of course they won’t. Waded Cruzado isn’t paid a quarter of a million bucks a year to do the right thing, she’s paid a quarter of a million bucks a year to raise money for MSU. Capeesh?

  8. Orwell von Killy | May 26, 2016 6:46 AM at 6:46 AM |

    Montana citizens should realize that this incident, and the way it was handled, is simply a continuation of the ‘way things are’ in the presently dysfunctional Montana University System. The financial and enrollment struggles at UM (and also at MSU-Billings); the sordid issue of the proposed DO medical school at Bozeman; the questionable behavior of the Commissioner’s Office in regards to the Jordan Johnson rape case; the highly unusual approval of $500K bonuses to top system administrators; the ‘revolving door’ turnover of senior administrators within the MUS…….These are all clear examples of a failure of leadership within Montana higher education.

    And where does responsibility for this leadership failure lie ? Think about that.

  9. Cruzado has failed, allowing MSU’s INTEGRITY to be greatly diminished and angering many rank and file alumni who don’t have millions to donate, but VALUE the education and what a land-grant school for the public is all about, not a campaign Billboard!

  10. Of course the Regents will take the money. IT IS MONEY. The GiantFart School of Not Science may crash and burn but $$$$$. As a very sad MSU alumni, I can tell you my pitiful donations will never go this school again. Really, it’s the not science thing that really fascinates me. GiantFart said “I HATE SCIENCE” and a bunch of supposedly smart people said, “Hey, for that kind of money, we will hate science, too.”

  11. This will be determined. The Equality Act of 2015 H.R. 3185 and S. 1858 are currently in committee and will be passed. There is major support of these by both parties. These bills amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation.

    Now with the lawsuits are flying over the bathroom issue. Here is what I project will happened. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 will eventually remain unchanged. No sexual discrimination will stay in place and no reference to gender identification. Transgender will have to change their drivers licenses and/or birth certificates when they complete transformation.

  12. This will be determined. The Equality Act of 2015 H.R. 3185 and S. 1858 are currently in committee and will be passed. There is major support of these by both parties. These bills amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation.

    Now with the lawsuits are flying over the bathroom issue. Here is what I project will happened. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 will eventually remain unchanged. No sexual discrimination will stay in place and no reference to gender identification. Transgender will have to change their drivers licenses and/or birth certificates when they complete transformation.

    What say ye

  13. This is why SCOTUS needs 9 justices. I call the GOP Judiciary members, Mitch McConnell and PeeWee Daines every week and remind them I am donating $9/week to the Democratic Party for the first time in my life and will continue until they hold hearings and fill the vacancy. You don’t have to donate the $$ but calling PeeWee & Mitch every week would help. SCOTUS will have far more effect on our day-to-day lives than any elected official.

  14. MSU students should let it be known that they will not enter the building if it has his name on it.

  15. It’s not whether they’re all queers, my dears; it’s whether they should be denied their citizenship. Hypocrites should not be allowed to vote, hold office, run a business, serve in our military, or live in my neighborhood, our city, our state, our country — on our planet. They certainly should not be allowed to procreate. It ain’t the queers who are the child molesters.

  16. As a graduate of MSU, I’m ashamed. I used to be proud of having attended MSU, but this naming of a department/building is over the top. Now, to me MSU is just another money grabbing entity with no soul.

  17. I have not had a chance to check in, so this comment is a little dated. I would rather not get into the several silly specific negative comments made by the opponents of Greg in this case, the inaccuracies and the trampling on the truth and reality. Rather, I would like to point out that Greg donated money to the University for the benefit of ALL. THOSE WHO AGREE WITH HIM, AND THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH HIM ALIKE. The worst you could really say against him is that he is doing it for his own ego, and maybe he should have done it anonymously. That, however, is the way the game is played, and Greg would be no worse than thousands of benefactors before him that wanted to see his or her name on the building, and it does give him some name recognition, and he is running for governor.

    The posters above and the video posted above reflect the ideas of those who disagree with Greg’s (supposed and assumed in some cases) private views on religion and his personal life. His public view, however, as represented by this gift, is equality for FOR ALL, regardless of whether or not they agree or not, with his personal views.

    Greg believes in respecting different opinions and the right of others to have differing opinions. Statements to the contrary are simply wining individuals looking to create an issue where none exists. Greg’s opponents, however, want to silence differing opinions, which is in effect what they are doing by trying to “squash” his name (a courtesy that is usually generously given in all circumstances such as this). I really find it funny the way the various leftist, liberal groups do not see their very plain hypocrisy, not to mention their clear deviation from the belief in the freedoms illuminated by the Bill of Rights.

    Very briefly, with respect to the tragedy of the weekend, the individuals at the Pulse club in Orlando were Americans exercising their God given freedoms, which is the reason that they were attacked. This attack on the club, apparently directed towards the LGBT community, is an attack on all FREEDOM LOVING Americans. Sympathies and condolences to all those impacted by this terrible event.

    • Both liberal and conservative folks are missing the point that I think is most important:
      A really rich person has contributed money in exchange for news coverage and name recognition, six months before an election.

      I don’t care how you feel about his past, this fact remains and it must be addressed.
      If this donation truly was intended to be just for the benefit of the students and the future of Montana it would have been either made
      – after the election, with the same name demands, and kept secret until then OR
      – anonymously, anytime, OR
      – 5 years ago, at the same time as he was making his more questionable donations.

      The university’s lack of awareness that they are being used is embarrassing.

      Why doesn’t Steve Bullock or Bernie Sanders make a giant donation to further their politics? Could it have something to do with the fact that they don’t have 8 million dollars to donate? This amount is pizza money to Gianforte and doesn’t hurt his quality of life at all.

      Big money often tips the scales but isn’t available equally to all, and is therefore an unfair advantage to those that didn’t become rich. Maybe the other candidate spent their time making the world better instead of making money?

      Instead we should be electing based on a candidate’s past actions, beliefs, proposed actions, and general personality, which are things that all Americans have! Until we stop equating money with these attributes we will keep doing this silly left-right dance every 4 to 8 years.

  18. Hello, NO Hero. I think your point is very valid. The best way to give is: “Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”.

    I agree that there is an aspect of brand building to the gift. Still I will briefly give one or two additional considerations. Greg has been giving for a long time, and since he cashed out of his old company “Right Now”, he has funded his foundation more, and he gives with a steady rate, and has done so for a while. So it would be more out of line for him to STOP GIVING from that perspective. A recent report here on this blog indicates that more than half of his donations have nothing to do with his personally held beliefs (religious and others). He for instance has given to NYU in NY, one of the most liberal organizations in the country, presumably because they do some good that was recognized by his foundation.

    Another consideration is that there are people in his economic class that DON’T GIVE at all. One aspect of publicizing some of these gifts, is to encourage others to do good deeds, as well. Bottom line, yes, he probably wants some name recognition, I agree. Criticisms regarding this gift, however, as noted above, I think are highly exaggerated and off base.

    • “Money Donations” is an answer to a university wanting to better itself. That is a simple enough statement. But we all know that unspoken Republican Party Politics has always warned of Education being the ten foot wall in keeping their propaganda and fear baiting from flourishing in the United states….

      We have already seen it in Texas in elementary schools teaching false creationism to the young minds of that state.

      Republicans in congress have been cutting funds to Universities purposely for people like GIanforte to impose their unscientific views, as well as pressure Professors in College to teach the GOP form of complete Batshit crazy as well.

      Just like the Nazi’s did when they started pushing the civilians of their country to the right before Hitler came to power. You see in those times germany’s Universities were Government funded as well, two months after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service was passed. Because German universities were state funded, selected personnel and professors could be canned by the Nazi leadership as they were officially state employees. As the Nazi regime consolidated its power, All German universities were targeted and purged of any academics or staff who refused to pledge allegiance to the NAzis.

      We are seeing this today with people like Gianforte and the Koch brothers, as well as the republicans in congress who do more each year to squeeze american Universities of funds.

Comments are closed.