Building Name Review: LeConte - Feedback

The Building Name Review Committee welcomes comments on the proposal to remove the name of LeConte from the Department of Physics buildings. The proposal is available at :

Submitted comments that were designated by their authors to be public appear below. 

This page includes comments received as of August 10, 2020.

In favor of the proposal to remove the name LeConte from Department of Physics buildings

Timestamp Comment:

7/5/2020 09:56:00

Call to remove white supremacist names from campus buildings.pdf
7/6/2020 18:06:07 This is an important step towards making Berkeley Physics inclusive.
7/6/2020 18:09:05 he was a slave owner and it's plainly psychotic to have his name on anything
7/6/2020 18:12:46 Given the deeply regressive views of LeConte as a owner of enslaved people, it is clearly past time to change this name. Berkeley's Physics Department deserves a building named after someone who not only represents our tradition of high quality research, but also our diverse community and the community we aspire to be.
7/6/2020 18:17:45 Le Conte was undoubtedly a racist man and made many horrific comments in his book “The Race Problem in the South", which I will not repeat here. As we continue to strive for true racial equity in our country, it is absolutely crucial that UC Berkeley examine ways to correct racial harms. One of these, is by renaming Le Conte Hall, and I fully support our campus buildings being representative of, and supportive of, all of our campus. Hopefully, in 2020, renaming this building is not something that requires a lot of strife and Berkeley will take this opportunity to do the right thing by choosing an anti-racist figure to be presented on our building instead. Thank you!
7/6/2020 18:21:41 The world has enough heroes that we don't need to be honoring slaveholders.
7/6/2020 18:22:11 The personal beliefs of the LeConte brothers, particularly of Joseph LeConte, are antithetical to the mission and culture of UC Berkeley. Here, we believe that Black scientists are essential members of our research community. It is prudent that the name LeConte be removed from this building in support of our Black students and researchers. Names matter, and as a community, we have a duty to be more diligent and empathetic when naming our campus buildings.
7/6/2020 18:22:46 John LeConte was a slave owner and member of the Confederacy during the US Civil War. These are not the types of people that should be honored with buildings named after them on campus. Current black students should not have to deal with reminders of what was done to their ancestors being shoved in their faces while trying to learn.
7/6/2020 18:24:28 By putting this name on a building, we glorify someone who treated a group of people as if they were less than people. That glorification should end.
7/6/2020 18:24:54 Due to the racist history of its namesake, I am in favor of the proposal to remove the name.
7/6/2020 18:24:56 If LeConte does get renamed, it should be in honor of another conservationist.
7/6/2020 18:26:12 Find an anti-racist physist to be the new namesake.
7/6/2020 18:30:33 Proposed Name: Pepper Hall, in honor of the animals that contribute to science and are not recognized enough for their sacrifices.

A wholesome, not-controversial name!
7/6/2020 18:31:16 It is shameful that in this day and age, UC Berkeley has preserved the memory of Joseph LeConte, an outspoken white supremacist, by keeping one of its buildings in his name. It is far overdue that the university removes this name and renames it to represent a figure who actually advocates for social change, both in their professional and personal spaces.
7/6/2020 18:33:36 It's important for us to create a welcoming environment on campus for all students! Renaming this building is a key part of that.
7/6/2020 18:34:29 As a UC Berkeley student, I do not think a UC Berkeley building should be named after someone who used science to actively oppress African-Americans. The UC Berkeley campus community must do better to be actively anti-racist and support BLM. This includes the renaming of campus buildings, which is a small but necessary step towards making the UC Berkeley campus truly diverse, anti-racist, and committed to the social principles that it publicizes to the world. Instead of celebrating those who oppressed others, we should be recognizing those who did work to support the civil rights movement, BLM, and other social justice work. Many of those who did the incredible work to help this country become anti-racist and welcoming to all go unrecognized (and are "hidden figures"). Remove LeConte's name from the building and consider recognizing a "hidden figure" instead.
7/6/2020 18:35:15 Although it is undoubtedly the case that John and Joseph LeConte played an important role in the founding and early history of the university, their racist views and writings are at odds with the mission and ethos of the modern university. There have been many distinguished physicists who have taught, researched, and studied at Berkeley, who have contributed greatly to the university's history and current renown, and who did not hold such odious beliefs. One of their names would be a more appropriate and welcoming replacement.
7/6/2020 18:35:16 The University should have zero tolerance for a Confederate, slave-owning family such as the LeConte brothers. Their actions and works were racist, dehumanizing, reprehensible, and unconscionable. It's about time the University takes action against their horrific legacy.
7/6/2020 18:38:37 Berkeley has an obligation to its students of color and its community to hold true to the values we are so proud of - this is a start.
7/6/2020 18:40:05 why has It taken so long?
7/6/2020 18:40:56 I believe that the university should detach itself from any racist associations, such as having a building named after LeConte, a slave owner with a renowned history of racial inequality.
7/6/2020 18:42:09 No slaveholder should be honored with a building named after them
7/6/2020 18:47:35 I am in favor of the proposal because the building’s name suggests a lack of regard for the autonomy of certain students on campus and suggests that Berkeley honors a racist.
7/6/2020 18:48:03 It is clear from their biographies that the Le Conte brothers are racists and used science to argue that African Americans are inferior people. It would be a great shame if any building is in Berkeley is named Le Conte!
7/6/2020 18:49:53 I strongly support this proposal.
7/6/2020 18:50:45 This should be done as quickly as possible.
7/6/2020 18:52:08 I was unaware of LeConte's racist views but a quick review of the internet led me to the Berkeley Unified School District's decision to rename an elementary school named after LeConte. I found the language there in favor of renaming the school compelling. UC Berkeley should take a similar action. See After reading the materials on that webpage I agree completely with the words of Superintendent Donald Evans, who wrote that Le Conte’s “important contributions to science … are overshadowed by his noxious views, which he expressed and disseminated widely in order to deny others the power and freedom he enjoyed.”
7/6/2020 18:53:15 It is clear from their biographies that the Le Conte brothers are racists. It would be a great shame if any building in Berkeley is named after them.
7/6/2020 18:55:15 The LeConte brothers, while important figures in the early history of the University of California, actively engaged in and supported the subjugation of Black Americans. These views and efforts have no place on our campus and should not be endorsed or memorialized on our buildings.
7/6/2020 19:00:03 The LeContes not only came from a slave-owning family and supported the Confederacy, but published explicitly racist materials advocating for the removal of voting rights from Black citizens and other people of color. These publications influenced contemporary legislatures and academics, actively harming communities of color in ways that continue to be felt today. UC Berkeley should not be honoring emphatic racists by naming major buildings after them--whatever the other contributions of these men to academia may have been.
7/6/2020 19:00:40 The University of California has a lot of reckoning to do with their complacency, participation, and perpetuation of white supremacy, especially at this moment in time with our current racial climate in America coming to a boil. In 2018, USC named UC Berkeley in particular as being one of "the worst schools for Black students." I as a Black student and every other Black student I know on campus have multiple stories of having suffered a lot of hardships, discrimination, and racial stressors whilst attending this university both explicitly from students, staff and administration and implicitly. If the UC wants to show their commitment to change, removing the name of this awful slaveowner, white supremacist, Confederate psuedo-scientist is an important first step. If the UC does not remove the names of people like the LeConte brothers and other people like him in history, it will prove to its Black students that it really does not care about changing the narrative and the legacy of the university and academia, and it refuses to serve them. Dark history is meant to be remembered to improve the future, not to be glorified.
7/6/2020 19:03:12 Katherine Johnson
7/6/2020 19:04:34 It's time to decolonize our campus. Renaming is the first step.
7/6/2020 19:04:59 The rest of my college career will involve mainly physics, so I don't want to be in a building named after a slave-owner and white supremacist. Keeping the name Le Conte on campus upholds his racist ideas and oppresses POC at Berkeley.
7/6/2020 19:06:32 This is fine but we are still the worst UC for black students, we could be devoting more energy to making this campus less hostile toward black students and reducing the obstacles to their success.
7/6/2020 19:09:28 Their toxic racism, with real-world consequences in terms of the normalization of virulent pseudo-scientific ideology, outweighs their contributions to scholarship and the university.
7/6/2020 19:11:15 LeConte was a vicious white supremacist and a staunch supporter of the Confederacy! Having a building named after him on campus enables his legacy to live on!! Please remove this name!!! It makes me sick to learn about Le Conte's history and to think UC Berkeley honors him by having a building in his name!! It would be so easy to change, can easily be changed, and SHOULD be changed, at the very least!!
7/6/2020 19:12:03 Our campus needs to move past the racist history and name buildings after POC in the field
7/6/2020 19:13:06 Joseph LeConte is well known for his racist attitudes towards African-Americans and how he was very against voting rights for African-Americans.
7/6/2020 19:13:52 As a physics major, I think the home of so much great discovery should have a name that not only promotes the great intellectual accomplishments Berkeley has to offer, but also the diversity and inclusion it should strive to achieve as a public university.
7/6/2020 19:14:29 I believe and hope that the university will work to dismantle sociopolitical racism, which includes the renaming of this Hall.
7/6/2020 19:14:36 Physics major who believes that the good name of the Berkeley physics department should not be sullied and represented in any fashion by a man who aided the Confederacy and harshly criticized reconstruction by characterizing it as "a carpet-bag governor, scalawag officials, and a negro legislature controlled by rascals"
7/6/2020 19:16:32 The removal of the LeConte name from the Physics buildings is consistent with the evolution of the position of the University towards a better society. As the sole black faculty member in the entire division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences for nearly 25 years I speak from experience. This decision would be a natural step in what continues to be a slow awakening to the pernicious and pervasive issue of racism in America by the world's premier public university. UC Berkeley has a duty to help lead toward a more enlightened world. I applaud my faculty colleagues for their strong support for this action, and don't wish to imagine what would cause the Committee to reject it.
7/6/2020 19:17:56 Let's name it after David Saxon, another UC president physicist that engaged in anti-McCarthyism
7/6/2020 19:19:12 This racist history does not have a place at UC Berkeley.
7/6/2020 19:20:28 I would suggest naming this building after a pioneer of our time in UC Berkeley history, Nadine Burke Harris ’96, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Burke Harris is the first-ever Surgeon General for the state of California and founded the Center for Youth Wellness in San Francisco.

Let's honor her by naming the building "Burke Harris Hall."

Thank you!
7/6/2020 19:23:46 please remove name
7/6/2020 19:26:32 It's past time that the University stop honoring racists by associating their names with campus buildings. I hope that the Naming Committee will accept the request of the students and faculty and rename this building.
7/6/2020 19:30:30 This seems a much more straightforward case than the Kroeber one, and a definite "yes"
7/6/2020 19:31:20 I applaud removing the name of a known secessionist from one of the more prominent buildings on campus. It will also eventually afford the opportunity to rename the building after someone more appropriate (I'm hoping that it will not be a rich donor, but an accomplished physicist).
7/6/2020 19:33:52 The name, LeConte, should be removed from Department of Physics building.
7/6/2020 19:33:59 As a physics undergraduate, I wholeheartedly support changing the name of LeConte Hall to signify a commitment to promoting an inclusive community.
7/6/2020 19:41:08 I strongly believe Leconte Hall should be renamed. We should not celebrate confederates, we should celebrate one in the long line of incredibly accomplished physicists who worked at our institution without such a taint.
7/6/2020 19:43:47 If he was racist, absolutely remove his name from the hall. Even if racism was "the status quo" at the time, UC Berkeley always strives to go against the status quo to create new innovations. In addition, at a pinnacle time like this, there is no better time to remove a racist white man's name off a UC Berkeley building.
7/6/2020 19:44:13 As a graduate student in the astronomy department, I don't want to work in and around a building named for someone who so grossly misused scientific principles to advance his own racist agenda. Despite his contributions to the university in its early days, there are plenty of other great scientists that the building could be named after who did not espouse such hatred and who are truly worthy of such an honor.
7/6/2020 19:47:36 Having read the proposal and learning of LeConte's ugly history, I fully support removing his name from this public institution's halls.
7/6/2020 19:48:59 It is hard to assess a person's behavior outside the historical time period so I would urge caution in removing a name, especially if it is long associated with distinguished research, without clear evidence of his or her (not the parents) blatant and egregious racism or other bad behavior.

Importantly, it is important what would be the new name. If a company who is paying for advertising, I am totally against that. We should honor our professors, our researchers, our people who contributed to the university. I don't want to see a Walmart Dept of Physics. All proposals for renaming should take this into account.
7/6/2020 19:49:58 Remove!
7/6/2020 19:51:05 LeConte enslaved hundreds of African Americans. Having his name honored on a UC Berkeley building is contributing to the violence and discrimination towards BIPOC on our campus.
7/6/2020 19:52:50 It is true that the brothers LeConte contributed to education in the sciences, the development of University of California in its early years, and their respective fields of physics and natural history. But, it is also true that the name LeConte carries with it a history of using science for racist means. A history that a modern campus, and physics department does not wish to publicly be associated with.

I did not know before the name carried with it a racist history. That fact that had never been told to me, despite years of taking classes in the lecture hall. I had to research the LeConte's myself to determine this for myself. As a result, I must say that Joseph LeConte's abuse of science is unrepresentative of what Berkeley Physics stands for today, and was never in-line with the tenets of scientific thought.

I stand with the Berkeley Physics department and ask that the name be removed.

I hope that even with the name stripped from the building, we as a campus continue to acknowledge these unsavory aspects of Berkeley's past, even if we are embarrassed to do so.
7/6/2020 19:54:58 LeConte was racist and believed that people of color were inferior to white people. As a student of color in the physics department, this makes me extremely uncomfortable and makes me feel unwelcome at this school. Please consider replacing his name with that of a notable woman of color in physics.
7/6/2020 20:01:22 The actions and values of the LeConte brothers do not align with the values of UC Berkeley and how we want to represent ourselves. We should not continue to honor Confederate soldiers and slaveholders.
7/6/2020 20:05:35 The LeConte name is inconsistent with the values and goals of the university and should be removed.
7/6/2020 20:08:56 I think names like Marie Curie or Rosalind Franklin would be proper for Physics. It would send a message about equality and inclusion, since science has not been an exception in making things harder to women. However, if "physics field" is not mandatory as requisite, I would go even further in my message and look for African American women: 1) Marie M. Daly, the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States, 2) Katherine Johnson, African American, Ph.D. in mathematics, who performed the complex calculations that enabled humans to successfully achieve space flight, and died at the age of 101 this February 2020.
7/6/2020 20:13:12 Not even a subject as anxiety-inducing as physics deserves the name of a Confederate sympathizer
7/6/2020 20:16:17 The LeConte brothers were Confederates and racists (this is well documented). Obviously their name should be removed from the building. There are many people who won the physics Nobel Prize in LeConte Hall who ought to be honored instead.
7/6/2020 20:18:42 I am a graduate student in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UC Berkeley, and I have both taken classes and taught discussion sections in LeConte Hall. As a graduate student instructor, I have no control over where my discussion sections are scheduled to take place. When I teach in a building, I am associating myself with that building and its name, so it is important to me that this association is a positive one. I am ashamed to have been associated with the LeConte name.

I recognize the important role that the LeConte brothers played in the history of UC Berkeley, and I am not advocating for erasing that history. After the un-naming, I hope that the history of the LeConte name, with emphasis on why it was removed, will be displayed and explained appropriately within the building, as an important reminder to our students that history will remember and judge them not for the number of papers they publish or the prestige of their titles, but for the way that their work impacts their communities. A building name is the wrong way to preserve this history. Like statues and monuments, building names do not serve only to remember history, but to approve of and honor their namesakes. The LeConte brothers do not deserve this honor.

Even if the LeConte brothers were "only" a product of their times, for example by holding racist views commonly accepted at the time, we would be justified in removing their name, because it is important that our icons are people of whose views we can be proud. However, the LeConte brothers were much worse than this. They were confederate officers, and actively contributed to the pro-slavery confederate cause by studying and manufacturing gunpowder used in the Civil War. Joseph LeConte used false "science" to oppress Black Americans, and his work actively influenced racist policy. Among other things, he advocated for "the preservation of the purity of the blood of the higher race" (white people, in his view), and lamented the admission of African Americans to Universities. What message does this send to our Black students? There is more to say about the negative impacts of their views and actions than I could possibly fit in this short comment, but it is clear that the LeConte brothers made our country, and the world, worse, especially for Black people. What does it say about us if we continue to honor their racist legacy?
7/6/2020 20:22:48 The renaming of LeConte Hall is a small step towards remediating the damage done by the University of California system to Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC). The building is named after two slave-owning brothers who held abhorrent views on race not at all in line with the university's mission and values and do not deserve to be honored in such a way by the university. Please change the name of this building.
7/6/2020 20:25:17 The LeConte brother's contributions to society and the university should be weighed against the detrimental words and deeds. I would go one step further, and propose that the campus review all historical location names and references and expunge any and all those who participated in the confederacy or in similar racist ideologies.
7/6/2020 20:36:33 It is wrong that UC Berkeley should honor the LeConte brothers' legacy by naming a building after them. The LeConte brothers clearly perpetrated heinous acts in supporting the Confederacy and supporting racist Social Darwinist theory.
7/6/2020 20:39:35 UC Berkeley should not be glorifying racists
7/6/2020 20:51:32 The proposal as posted appeared informative, and informed although no statement was made as to whether LeConte ever abandoned his views against reconstruction, or whether the critique of LeConte avoided citing contradictory evidence. Similarly, the proposal provided no citations, which is also a weakness. Assuming these two issues are investigated and resolved to be without merit, the renaming should be acceptable. If not, the process of investigation should be extended. I am somewhat concerned that we not raise a generation of people who consider behavior out of context, or without close examination, or who accept the current injustices of the world while condeming those of a hundred and fifty years ago. MLK Jr has been disparaged. When do we accept that imperfect behavior is immutable and when is it nothing more than scandal mongering? The process of honoring individuals cannot exclude all criminals. The pernicious/beneficial assessment is perhaps a decent initial attempt at evaluating historical roles. But should we be memorializing or setting goals? Setting goals seems to be the wiser choice. Something else: not good to honor anyone who has defined research in a field. This has obvious costs to progress, promoting a very conservative perspective Thank you for working on this issue
7/6/2020 20:57:00 Given the association of the name LeConte with virulent "scientific" anti-Black racism and the use of this scholarship in ways that are harmful and even deadly to Black life, I am with physics faculty in their quest to un-name the building. UC Berkeley can and must do much better.
7/6/2020 21:00:34 Brown and Black students should be able to attend a university that does not uplift white supremacists by having a hall named after them. Barrows hall should also be changed. Barrows was a slaver owner.
7/6/2020 21:05:24 John and Joseph LeConte were two of the first faculty members of the University of California. They were also slave-owning Confederate scientists who manufactured gunpowder during the civil war, pushed pseudo-scientific theories of white racial supremacy, and vehemently opposed Black people having the right to vote. On the latter subject, Joseph LeConte once said, “The Negro race as a whole is certainly at present incapable of self-government and unworthy of the ballot.”

Now that this truth has been brought to light, it would be disgraceful for the school to not un-name the building and would speak to whether UC Berkeley is truly committed to justice and anti-racism. The emails and messages sent from the school about their commitment to justice and equity only go so far and do not have any weight or meaning until we see concrete action. Un-naming LeConte Hall is an easy way for you to take action and to carry forth the mission and values that the school claims to uphold.
7/6/2020 21:05:59 The hall should be renamed in honor of George Takei.
7/6/2020 21:26:16 It is beyond ironic that LeConte Hall sits across from the bust of Abraham Lincoln aside the Campanile, given that Joseph LeConte (one of the two honorees of the building's name) was commissioned as a major for the Confederate States of America and given the responsibility of heading the CSA's Niter and Mining Bureau. In his autobiography, he makes no apology for his involvement with the Confederacy, while distancing himself from the ethical value of his political decisions.
7/6/2020 21:28:36 It is past time for UCB to rid such names from the campus. Put your actions where your statements of solidarity with BLM are.
7/6/2020 21:50:02 It is time, way past time, that buildings in our great University are named after racist and people that do not believe in the equality and humanity of everyone. That is not our core value. It is a slap in the face, a constant reminder of black students, staff, faculty and visitors that LeConte, a avowed racist is honored. That should not be and needs to change. Please remove his name.
7/6/2020 21:55:34 Joseph LeConte was a slaveowner, an outspoken white supremacist, and advocate of scientific racism. He criticized abolition and efforts to educate Black people; his name has no place on any public institution.
7/6/2020 21:58:54 I don't see any reason why we shouldn't change the names of buildings on campus to reflect the ideals we wish to carry into the future. Good riddance.
7/6/2020 22:07:21 I wanted to voice approval. The hall has a central place on campus and it'd be great if it wasn't named after such a blatantly racist person.
7/6/2020 22:08:03 The honorific names of the campus buildings could reflect those whose land we are on, the Ohlone. There are also many faculty from the Department of Physics whose accomplishments serve as a better namesake.
7/6/2020 22:26:07 Finally the University is acting in support of its students of color
7/6/2020 22:33:00 Racist people should never be celebrated, especially at a public university.
7/6/2020 22:50:09 There can be no clear argument made at this point for retaining the name LeConte anywhere on the UC Berkeley Campus. Honoring Confederate officers runs directly counter to the university's values. Now that the racist views and writings of Joseph LeConte are well-known, keeping the LeConte name would do real and immediate harm to the students of color at the university, who already often feel undervalued and out of place here. The message would be clear: "Your sense of well-being and belonging here is less important than our loyalty to the status quo and the legacy of a century-dead racist professor". The precedent has been clearly set by the Sierra Club, who recently voted to remove LeConte's name from their lodge in Yosemite, despite his being one of the founders of their organization, as well as by the city of Los Angeles, and the Berkeley school district. Keeping the name does no good to the university, and would cause significant harm. Remove it immediately.
7/6/2020 22:52:12 Having taken physics classes as part of my major, I found that having to walk into a building that honored someone with a deeply racist past right in the middle of campus extremely troubling. Although the building was named to honor LeConte's legacy in physics, by continuing to attach his name to the hall meanw that we are just putting a blind eye to his racist legacy as well, honoring someone who worked for the Confederacy, opposed voting rights and education for Black people, and supported the basis of a biological superiority of white people over others. With many other places previously named after LeConte now renamed such as the now Sylvia Mendez Elementary in Berkeley in 2018 and more recently LeConte Ave in Westwood near UCLA in July 2020, I believe it is high time that we too recognize that these racist views do not align with the values and honor code of UC Berkeley and have no place on campus by un-naming LeConte Hall. Should the campus choose to continue to honor LeConte's achievements in physics after the unnaming, it should be done so in ways that would allow his achievements to be viewed alongside his racist views to allow members of the campus and public to fully judge his legacy.
7/6/2020 22:56:52 Naming buildings after slave owners is the antithesis of the values of UC Berkeley period.
7/6/2020 23:17:28 Across the nation, there are monuments being torn down and names being changed.

Why is this happening?

Because the movement Black Lives Matters is bringing awareness to the context of the establishment of these monuments and the names being named.

While I support Black Lives Matters, I still wish to discuss the justifications of these proposals.

The confederate monuments in the southern states were torn down because they were established during the Jim crow era. They were established in order to intimidate the minority ethnic population in that area. Even if the persons portrayed by these statues were of some respectability, the fact is that their likeness is used to advance such an ignoble cause.

There are talks of opposing removal of monuments due to historical purposes. I agree with that argument if the stated purpose of those monuments was to mark a historical moment. The Washington monument was established to honor the first president of this nation and I would like to think it hard pressed to find a good justification to tear it down.

Now we see the renaming of certain buildings on campus and I would like to ask why?

The reasons we are presented are thus:

Even though, the brothers LeConte honored our glorious university with their scholarly triumphs, they then used their accomplishments to advance a nefarious racist agenda. They endeavored to justify and rationalize the oppression of our fellow students and citizens of differing minority.

This is unacceptable.

And as such, I find that the honor of naming school buildings in which students of all races and ethnicities, including those that the brothers Leconte sought to suppress, should be reappropriated to people of greater moral stature.
7/6/2020 23:32:49 This family's legacy and privilege was built upon the suffering and utter disrespect of others. I believe there are many scholars that better represent UC Berkeley's values.
7/6/2020 23:35:57 I am in favor of the proposal to remove the name LeConte from Department of Physics buildings
7/6/2020 23:40:23 Berkeley buildings should reflect the achievements of Berkeley graduates and professors, and also our humanistic values. We should not honor the legacy of slaveowners and racists by having their names adorn our campus buildings, despite whatever contributions they may have made to science. Renaming the building would mark an opportunity to recognize the painful history of racism associated with the LeConte buildings, and the buildings could be renamed in honor of one of Berkeley's many amazing physicists.
7/6/2020 23:42:55 I am a lead for the Society for Women in the Physical Sciences and we, as an organization, were a key signature on the most recent petition to remove the name LeConte and we remain firm in our stance. In a department and field that is already markedly white, it is unacceptable to further alienate black and brown students by publicizing Berkeley's love for a racist.
7/7/2020 0:15:53 I fully support the Department of Physics' request to rename Leconte Hall. Berkeley must not have a building named for partisans of the confederacy, whose racism continued into their time at Berkeley, and who failed to redeem themselves for the wealth and privileges they gained through the enslavement of others.
7/7/2020 0:48:06 I am a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley. LeConte's views on race are vile. Enslaving people is despicable beyond words. Having a building named after a man who loudly and proudly disseminated so much hate is unacceptable. Refraining from renaming the building would be actively harmful to the Berkeley community, and uniquely harmful to black scholars and scholars of color who have to work in the building. We should not glorify LeConte with a named building. I fully support the renaming.
7/7/2020 6:45:29 I wholeheartedly support the renaming of LeConte Hall. It is unacceptable to honor a legacy of racism and of misusing science to serve racist goals. The careers of the LeConte brothers should be recognized as entirely opposite to Berkeley's mission as a source of cutting edge research and education.
7/7/2020 7:08:06 a new name could better align with Berkeley principles
7/7/2020 7:20:16 As someone who has written on the legacies of scientific racism (particularly in relation to Louis Agassiz), I cannot abide the honoring of individuals who leveraged their status as learned men to support racism. I support the renaming of this building.
7/7/2020 7:55:02 Based on the information provided about the background of these individuals. I am in favor of removing and rename the building. I want the committee to consider naming the building after a person or people whose thinking and actions are more in line with the mission of the Othering and Belonging Institute here a the University of California at Berkeley.
7/7/2020 7:59:50 I strongly support the proposal to remove the name LeConte from the Department of Physics Buildings. The requests from the BSU and the Physics faculty show clearly that LeConte was a fierce advocate for White Supremacy as a member of the Confederacy and later as a Berkeley faculty member. Removing the name is the right thing to do.
7/7/2020 8:09:25 I fully support the removal of this name and the name of any other person honored on a campus building, monument, or property who supported or advocated for racist ideology.
7/7/2020 8:20:23 I think now is a good time to change the name. LeConte was a Confederate ally, who materially contributed to the Confederate cause, and bitterly fought against racial equality. To continually celebrate the legacy of such a racist surely sends a terrible message to African American students and prospective African American students.
7/7/2020 8:33:32 Berkeley has a long history of important human and civil rights activists, and would appreciate a name honoring that.
7/7/2020 8:54:04 Buildings named for racists send a message that Berkeley is more interested in preserving a questionable legacy than making POCs welcome in our community. I don't think this is what we stand for, and it is time to act. If both the Black Student Union and the Faculty of the Department of Physics are for the denaming, then what are we waiting for? Let's live up to our stated values.
7/7/2020 9:14:49 I think this quote from his wikipedia page says it well:

In his autobiography he wrote that he found Reconstruction intolerable. He referred to "a carpet-bag governor, scalawag officials, and a negro legislature controlled by rascals" and stated that the "sudden enfranchisement of the negro without qualification was the greatest political crime ever perpetrated by any people".

As a black alumna and current staff member, and someone who took a health disparities class in this building, I find this upsetting. We can do better as a campus to lift up heroes whose values align with our contemporary values.
7/7/2020 9:25:50 I recently took a graduate public health course in LeConte Hall in Spring 2020 with the late environmental health giant and Nobel Prize recipient, Kirk Smith. On the first day of class, Professor Smith addressed our class with a story of how he took his first undergraduate physics course at UC Berkeley in this hall. While he had fond memories of the physical space, he acknowledged that LeConte was a white supremacist who did not uphold the true values of our institution and called for the removal of the name.

Given the way that history has progressed, UC Berkeley should work to change the name of the building as accountability for dismantling institutionalized racism in academia. Society needs to adapt and change with the advent of new information. LeConte was a Confederate slave owner and spoke openly about the inferiority of Black people. Now more than ever, UC Berkeley needs to remove LeConte's name and commit to a more just legacy of uplifting people of color.

Kirk Smith passed away last month (June 2020) at the age of 73. I think about how in his final months, he made sure to address the next generation of UC Berkeley students to continue this effort to remove LeConte's name from our campus building and imagine a better way forward.
7/7/2020 9:28:59 People without honor should not have buildings named after them in their honor. As an alum and a staff member, I feel that buildings on "my campus" should not hold the name of anyone that not only held racist views, but actively worked to cement those views into the fabric of society forever from their positions of power.
7/7/2020 9:37:00 I've worked in Stephens Hall for several years, right next to LeConte Hall. The building hosts the Center for African Studies, my previous employer. There, I advised Mastercard Foundation Scholars, outstanding Berkeley undergraduate and graduate students from the African Continent. Many shared stories of racism that they experienced on campus with me. The name LeConte Hall symbolizes the deep roots of racism and bigotry that show up in Berkeley students' daily lives. UC Berkeley will never be a welcoming place for Black students, professors, staff and visitors if it continues to honor such a legacy as those of the LeConte brothers.
7/7/2020 9:40:34 Perhaps putting a plaque inside the building about the previous name and why it was changed would be a good idea.
Time to acknowledge our past and work towards a better future.
7/7/2020 9:44:01 I am a Physics department alumus, class of 2001. My grandfather, my father and myself have all worked at LBNL. Given the outsized role UCB has played in 20th and 21st century physics, surely we can rename this building to honor one of our physicists, rather than after a largely forgotten individual who espoused hateful ideas. Furthemore, if the building name is changed, I propose that a plaque be erected explaining who Joseph LeConte was and why his name was removed. It is not an erasure of history, but instead represents the evolution of our values as a campus and as a society. Thank for reading my comments.
7/7/2020 9:45:21 The LeConte brothers' vehement anti-Black racism -- and use of science to justify and perpetuate discriminatory policies -- should not be celebrated by UC Berkeley. Removing their name from this building is the absolute least Berkeley can do to begin to right the wrongs that the university itself facilitated.
7/7/2020 9:45:25 As described in the proposal, the LeConte brothers were overt racists and do not represent the values of the University of California. They should not be celebrated on our campus and students, staff, and faculty should not have to work in a building named after people who worked to repress and advocate against the rights of African-Americans and other Black students.
7/7/2020 9:56:00 On behalf of my wife: please strongly consider renaming this and other campus buildings to honor women.
7/7/2020 9:56:15 I support the un-naming of LeConte hall based on the proposal submitted. But I think it's crucial (in all cases of building renaming) to simultaneously create publicly accessible materials (such as plaques or interpretive signage prominently displayed on-site) that preserve the legacy of the building's naming and explain why a previous name was disavowed and a new one was chosen. It is important that Berkeley not simply expunge all references to objectionable people or actions it may have been associated with in its past, but that they be seen in the context of the insitution's history and its evolving values over time.
7/7/2020 9:57:59 The LeConte name MUST be removed from the Physics building - it is abhorrent that it is still in place.
7/7/2020 9:58:09 Given the clearly racist views that LeConte espoused it is unjust that he continue to receive the distinction of having this building named after him.
7/7/2020 9:58:20 Building names should reflect the principles of the university. LeConte does not.
7/7/2020 10:11:45 Changing the name of a building from a racist name is a small, good thing that our community can do for the Black Lives Matter movement. It is not the only change we need to make, but it is by far overdue.
7/7/2020 10:14:54 I have read the proposal and am wholeheartedly in favor of renaming LeConte Hall. This is long overdue. I also request that the University support the removal of the LeConte name elsewhere in the City of Berkeley and the UC system. The damage perpetrated by John and Joseph LeConte cannot be undone, and renaming this building is but a drop in the bucket of the reparations UC Berkeley owes to the Chochenyo Ohlone and other indigenous people, Black people and other people of color.
7/7/2020 10:19:22 This feels like a very clear cut decision. Joseph LeConte was a virulent white supremacist and the university cannot claim to be a welcoming environment for students of color, particularly Black students, and continue to honor this man and his brother. The LeConte brothers are a fundamental part of Berkeley's history and that will never change, but the university facilities should reflect the institution's espoused values. Leave them in the 19th century and in the classrooms, not above the doors taunting students with their racist ideology.
7/7/2020 10:27:13 I wholeheartedly support the Black Student Union demands to change the LeConte building name to reflect a namesake in alignment with the values and mission of the university. The LeConte brothers had justified the repression of people of color, which is no longer in line with the beliefs of the university.
7/7/2020 10:28:36 Seemed to be not a great dude
7/7/2020 10:48:12 As a current MSW student at UCB, the daughter of a UCB grad, and a lifelong CA resident, I am absolutely IN FAVOR of REMOVING the LeConte name from the Department of Physics buildings. I stand in solidarity with the Black Student Union, Black Lives Matter movement, and others who have initiated this call for the incredibly overdue renaming of the buildings. The renaming is a small but critical step towards dismantling the racist legacies, policies, and structures that persist today in the UC system.
7/7/2020 10:52:22 Please rename this building - Confederate racists are not worthy of commemoration.
7/7/2020 10:57:15 UC Berkeley should unequivocally condemn racism, injustice, and anti-Blackness in all its forms. A significant part of this effort must be to not honor and preserve the names of known racists and slave owners.
7/7/2020 11:09:49 While the LeConte brothers were distinguished and important figures in UC Berkeley's history, their myriad racist remarks, views, and politics outweigh their achievements. Keeping their name on the building signifies to UC Berkeley's most marginalized communities that UCB as a whole celebrates white supremacists and does not value or protect the lives of their students, staff, and faculty of color. I support changing the name of the LeConte buildings, and I hope that we can replace the name with a notable Black physicist or scientist to honor the legacy of people of color on campus.
7/7/2020 11:28:28 Let's remove this harmful man's name from our campus.
7/7/2020 11:33:45 Renaming the physics building to remove any connection to the LeConte brothers is an important step in the University's reckoning with its past and the structural racism practiced against Black students and community members. Berkeley must listen to the pleas and demands of Black students and Black student organizations (including the Cal BSU), which have been ignored for far too long, and take a step in the right direction by renaming the building.
7/7/2020 11:47:48 We need to stop honoring racist scientists
7/7/2020 11:57:33 We should not honor racist conservationists with the names of our buildings. We should rename our buildings in honor of black civil rights heroes who fight and die for equal rights.
7/7/2020 12:15:23 Having a building named after an ardent racist does not uphold Berkeley's values. I am ashamed we haven't done this yet.
7/7/2020 12:15:52 Here are some verbatim quotes from Joseph LeConte's book, "The Race Problem in the South," which can be found in the Bancroft Library. The following are verbatim quotes from this book. These quotes are so horrific that it pains me to share them even in this forum, but in the interest of making sure that the Building Name Review Committee is fully aware of the depth of LeConte's racism, I am including them below for their consideration of this question. PLEASE rename this building without further delay!

“By slavery the Negro has been educated up to the right to some measure of freedom, but not as a race to complete freedom. Some form or degree of control by the white race is still absolutely necessary. I mean not personal control, but control of State policy.”

“The Negro has many fine and hopeful qualities. He is plastic, docile, impressionable, sympathetic, imitative, and therefore in a high degree improvable by contact with a superior race and under suitable conditions…. But, although the Negro by means of slavery has been raised above slavery, it would be a great mistake to suppose that he has yet reached the position of equality with the white race — that unassisted he can found a free civilized society.”

(on racial mixing): “In intellect, the mulatto is certainly superior to the Negro; but it is doubtful whether the white blood does not lose more than the black gains by the mixture.”

“I repeat, then, that the blacks as a whole are unworthy of the ballot.”

“Not only has the Negro been elevated to his present condition by contact with the white race, but he is sustained in that position wholly by the same contract, and whenever that support is withdrawn he relapses again to his primitive state….The Negro race is still in childhood, it has not yet learned to walk alone in the paths of civilization.”
7/7/2020 12:17:40 As the NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. said of the confederate flag, this name belongs in the history books and just about nowhere else. Reading the history of the LeConte brothers terrified me. Our science buildings should reflect our diverse future. And/or ethical donors.
7/7/2020 12:19:08 We cannot in good conscience continue to honor the names of those who held racist beliefs even if they were victims of their context. There were sufficient others around them with differing more enlightened views on race and slavery that gave sufficient space for individual growth that would evolve such views.
7/7/2020 12:19:44 I support changing the name of LeConte.
7/7/2020 12:20:09 I support the proposal to remove the LeConte name simply because what the name represents is not what the university and its students stand for.
7/7/2020 12:30:35 I will be a sophomore this fall, and of all the buildings on the Berkeley campus I have spent the most time in LeConte. I was extremely surprised to read about Joseph LeConte's support for the Confederacy and his very disturbing views on race. Although the LeConte brothers made contributions to conservation, academia and the Berkeley campus, and though their views may not have been far off from the norms of that period, it is past time for the building to be renamed. Especially when we should be encouraging more underrepresented minorities to pursue STEM fields, having the main physics building named after someone who harbored racist sentiments sends a terrible message. We shouldn't forget the LeConte brothers, however - if the building is renamed, a plaque should installed in the building (if not there already) that discusses the history of the brothers and emphasizes why the building was renamed. According to the physics department website, Cal has had nine faculty members and seven alums receive Nobel prizes in physics, and names such as Lawrence (especially), Oppenheimer, and Segre would be fitting for the department's main building.
7/7/2020 12:36:40 Since the Berkeley public school district has already de-named LeConte Elementary, the UC de-naming seems obvious for all the same reasons. I only wish UC Berkeley had been a leader on this!
7/7/2020 12:40:20 I support this proposal as a step in the ongoing process of elucidating the university's racist and colonial history.
7/7/2020 12:42:06 The way to move forward is to fully reckon with the past, and through a process of acknowledgment and action we can make sure that we fully learn all the lessons history offers. By renaming this building, we are not only bringing the history of this buildings namesake to light, we are also making a statement about we will hold ourselves accountable to that history going forward.
7/7/2020 12:43:18 A great opportunity to recognize a prominent woman scientist or physicist with a connection to Cal.
7/7/2020 12:46:40 Joseph LeConte and his brother owned over 200 slaves and promoted theories regarding racial degradation against POC. As an institution promoting inclusivity and diversity, keeping "LeConte" would be hypocritical and disrespectful not only to the public, but to the students, faculty, and others affiliated with UC Berkeley.
7/7/2020 13:09:01 I also reject the racism associated with the LeConte name and the misuse of science by Joseph LeConte to justify the repression of people of color
7/7/2020 13:11:29 The LeConte brothers may have contributed to the field of physics in a major way, but they were only able pursue these academic endeavors because of the slave labor that afforded them the opportunity to accrue wealth and spend time away from their homes. They were also against suffrage (naturally). There are plenty of non-slave owning Physicists to name the building after. Thank you so much for considering to take this important step.
7/7/2020 13:18:07 There clearly are other people who deserve to be recognized and who do not have the racist background as part of their history.
7/7/2020 13:30:29 The name of a building is an important symbol of what the Berkeley community values, and if it doesn't align with what many of us value and makes members of our community feel, unjustly, unwelcome, it must be removed. Having LeConte on a building places a pillar to white supremacy in the center of our campus, and removing the name is one step towards identifying and dismantling the unspoken culture of structural racism that envelopes us.

For the future, I also largely oppose naming buildings after people.
7/7/2020 13:33:25 LeConte's views on race are hateful and unscientific - having a building that honors him might make Berkeley's PoC students and faculty feel that they are not welcome
7/7/2020 13:43:25 LeConte was an awful racist and we should be embarrassed for the 150 years that scientists and the university ignored his terrible views on race.
7/7/2020 14:02:42 The need to remove LeConte's name from UCB is obvious. Berkeley public schools made this choice several years ago, moving much more quickly and decisively than UCB to rename its elementary school. The better question, however, is what we should rename the building currently housing the Physics department? My suggestion is to rename this building after the single most famous and important professor to ever teach at UCB: J. Robert Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer's name carries enormous scientific and ethical weight both on the Berkeley campus, where nothing of note carries his name, and around the world. His scientific achievements alone merit the renaming. But the tragedy of his life is first and foremost an ethical one, the need for scientific research to be guided not simply by solving technical problems, but by deep ethical considerations, the need for human conscience to guide research and knowledge. Oppenheimer gave birth to the atomic bomb, a device that has both shaped and scarred the history of UC Berkeley. It is time for us to own up to this history and to hold his name in memory as guide for future actions and accomplishments.
7/7/2020 14:07:14 The LeContes' treason, misuse of science, and most importantly their racism are not compatible with our values.
7/7/2020 14:14:14 The need to remove LeConte's name from UCB is obvious. Berkeley public schools made this choice several years ago, moving much more quickly and decisively than UCB to rename its elementary school. The better question, however, is what we should rename the building currently housing the Physics department? My suggestion is to rename this building after the single most famous and important professor to ever teach at UCB: J. Robert Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer's name carries enormous scientific and ethical weight both on the Berkeley campus, where nothing of note carries his name, and around the world. His scientific achievements alone merit the renaming. But the tragedy of his life is first and foremost an ethical one, the need for scientific research to be guided not simply by solving technical problems, but by deep ethical considerations, the need for human conscience to guide research and knowledge. Oppenheimer gave birth to the atomic bomb, a device that has both shaped and scarred the history of UC Berkeley. It is time for us to own up to this history and to hold his name in memory as guide for future actions and accomplishments.
7/7/2020 14:31:22 Chiefly, an egregious use of science to justify racism.
7/7/2020 14:39:00 John and Joseph LeConte were two of the first faculty members of the University of California. They were also slave-owning Confederate scientists who manufactured gunpowder during the civil war, pushed pseudo-scientific theories of white racial supremacy, and vehemently opposed Black people having the right to vote. On the latter subject, Joseph LeConte once said, “The Negro race as a whole is certainly at present incapable of self-government and unworthy of the ballot.”
7/7/2020 15:09:58 This would be a nice symbolic step on the (long) road to making Berkeley an anti-racist institution
7/7/2020 15:10:51 Perhaps his role at Berkeley helped establish our institution as respectable and representative of top academics on the west coast, but the part he played in the oppression of African Americans was far more significant. His views toward African Americans caused severe damage to a larger societal phenomenon, which we are still fighting today. If Berkeley wishes to prove we are truly part of this fight, part of the solution, we cannot have this name carved into our building. If we want to show how capable we are of learning, we need to take responsibility for and learn from our past mistakes. I feel ashamed to know a name associated with such inexcusable history is tarnishing the reputation of my school.
7/7/2020 15:25:31 History is history, it is in the past and we cannot change nor cancel it. However, we must not continue to glorify those whose beliefs and actions created history that damage the past, the present, and possibly the future for a significant sector of our population. The beliefs and actions of John and Joseph LeConte had irreparably damaged the "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" for many generations of Americans from their time to foreseeable future.
Let us continue to read and study the LeConte brothers in history but we should remove their names from buildings. By so doing we are removing structures of institutionalized racism, bigotry, and prejudice that has no basis in science.
7/7/2020 15:40:09 The Berkeley Physics community and College of L&S need to distance themselves from the problematic and antiquated views espoused by Joseph LeConte, and the support of a racist infrastructure by John LeConte in inheriting his father's plantation and supporting the Confederacy, as well as his disdain for Reconstruction. I support the removal of the LeConte name from the Department of Physics buildings.
7/7/2020 15:40:14 I strongly support the proposal: we should not be honoring the hateful and racist LeConte brothers at U.C. Berkeley.
7/7/2020 15:42:10 I was embarrassed and uncomfortable having classes in the building once I learned of Kroebers history. It's time to change the name now!
7/7/2020 15:43:12 The name of a white supremist and traitor to the US does not deserve a place of prominence on the Berkeley campus. Period.
7/7/2020 15:43:56 These brothers abused their scientific prestige to promote white superiority. They were officers and scientists for the Confederacy.
7/7/2020 17:04:17 Thank you for highlighting the history and taking action on this!
7/7/2020 17:09:49 It's time to stop honoring perpetrators of crimes against humanity. "Demoting" them makes an important statement of what kind of society we aspire to be and what values we believe in.
7/7/2020 17:20:11 I chose to come to UC Berkeley in large part due to its legacy of progressive activism and its renown as a top public institution. Having buildings that honor individuals that not only had racist attitudes, but also committed inconceivable racist actions including using science to advocate against the rights of African-Americans, is a stain on the legacy of UC Berkeley and needs to be rectified immediately.
7/7/2020 17:53:42 As slave owners and white supremacists, the LeContes do not deserve any form of honor at our University. If the University truly believes that Black lives matter, they will remove the name from the buildings. This is one small step the University can take in its commitment to racial equity, among many others that should be under consideration.
7/7/2020 18:00:31 The LeConte brothers were slaveholders and were proud supporters of the Confederacy. The removal of this symbolic gesture of remembrance to a family that actively fought against the morals this campus claims it maintains is long overdue. John and Joseph LeConte's financial contributions to the early history of this campus no longer reflects the progressive and inclusive institution UC Berkeley has become and strives to be. If arguing to maintain the building's name for the sake of tradition, let them remember that tradition is often flawed, wrong, and in need of revision. If arguing to maintain the building's name to remember John LeConte's role as a physicist and the first faculty member at Berkeley, let them remember him in a context that allows for nuance and discussion, not in glinting gold celebration on a building's facade found at the navel of this campus.
7/7/2020 18:29:30 LeConte's legacy of racism and his misuse of science to justify racism and oppression are detestable and no UC Berkeley building should bear his name. Removing the name of LeConte is critical to affirming Berkeley's support of students of color.
7/7/2020 22:01:12 It is the university's responsibility to actively address the anti-Blackness that exists on our present campus and make amendments to the historical violence against BIPOC–this begins with renaming buildings of once highly-regarded individuals.
7/7/2020 22:15:38 It is vitally important that the university recognize the significance of building names and the legacy that they bring to our present-day culture. Memorializing figures who perpetuated racist ideologies symbolizes how conscious and unconscious biases still permeate our academic institutions, particularly in physics. If we want our department to work towards creating a more equitable and diverse community, renaming our building is an important symbolic step. Obviously, there is much, much more that needs to be done, particularly in terms of directly recruiting and supporting students and faculty of color, as well as educating the current faculty on issues of racial and gender bias in physics. However, renaming our building will be a significant rhetorical statement to show that we will not let bureaucracy or tradition hinder our efforts towards inclusion and advocacy.
7/7/2020 23:03:20 John and Joseph LeConte were slave-owning Confederate scientists who manufactured gunpowder during the civil war, pushed pseudo-scientific theories of white racial supremacy, and vehemently opposed Black people having the right to vote.

These are not the types of people we should be memorializing on the buildings of our campus.
7/8/2020 3:32:45 As a staff member and alumnus of the University of California, Berkeley, I am disappointed that we waited so long to do the right thing for the Black Community on our campus. I overwhelmingly support the Physics Faculty's decision to rename LeConte Hall as soon as possible.

As someone who comes from a multiracial marriage- Maya Q'anjob'al, Indigenous Salvadorian, Indigenous Mexican, Italian, & Greek- I'm beyond frustrated and angry that we continue to honor white supremacists. Our university should know better for using the names of individuals who had abhorrent ideas of racial intermixing and blatant anti-Black scholarship, rhetoric, and values.

The least we can do is rename the building and I urge the university to seek input from the Black Community on what the new name should be.
7/8/2020 10:02:46 We do not need to celebrate slave owners on our campus.
7/8/2020 10:04:44 I agree with the Department of Physics in that I "reject the racism associated with the LeConte name and the misuse of science by Joseph LeConte to justify the repression of people of color." As an interdisciplinary STEM scholar at Cal, I believe we need to do all that we can to create spaces for Black and Brown colleagues in STEM. This is one small but significant step of many we need to take on our campus.
7/8/2020 10:10:42 I am an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley and feel strongly that the university has a responsibility to reckon with its histories (and current practices) of racism and all other exploitative systems of power. Names carry power and it's frankly embarrassing that the university has allowed the name of a known white supremacist to remain tied to the campus in any way, shape, or form for so long. If the university claims to care about its students of color, why has such a simple change been avoided all these years?
7/8/2020 12:43:15 If the university does not take action to reform its past decision to immortalize the name LeConte, it is implicitly conveying to everyone who steps on campus that white supremacy and racist ideologies are embraced in this space. We cannot perpetuate the idea that behavior harmful to anyone on the basis of their socioeconomic identity can be overlooked if the perpetrators have "made contributions" in some other academic/professional context.
7/8/2020 13:28:53 Because of "the gross misuse of science by Joseph LeConte to repress and advocate against the rights of African-Americans." There's no good reason to keep the name, time to move forward.
7/8/2020 14:05:18 Please remove this name and rename the building to reflect the primary academic activities inside building. The new naming pattern can be flexible and change if the academic activities change. Also allows for a qualified donor to rename the building if the opportunity arises.
7/8/2020 18:16:10 History tells the story of many intellectuals who were both brilliant scholars and ignorant citizens. I want to attend a University that encourages scientific and academic advancement for the sake of improving the world, not in order to justify a harmful bias. I want to attend a University where people of all backgrounds feel welcome. We can respect the Le Conte name for it's scientific significance and dedication to preservation of nature, but their backward views on race and slavery are not representative of UC Berkeley's commitment to the world. Please rename the building after a scientist coming from of a historically unrepresented background, who was also a champion of environmental conservation. Science, environmentalism, and social justice should go hand in hand.
7/9/2020 9:50:38 I support the proposal to un-name LeConte Hall. As a community, we should not memorialize people who have committed terrible acts. As the proposal states, it sends a message when we retain building names such as LeConte Hall. It can also send a message when we change it. Let's change it.
7/9/2020 10:09:22 Removing the name LeConte from all structures on campus is the morally correct course of action if UC seriously wishes to end its complicity with white supremacy.
7/9/2020 13:00:15 Names on buildings are an effective way of honoring individuals and are an ineffective way of conveying complex history. Even if they enter the building named for them, most students and visitors to campus will never know who the LeConte Brothers were. They will not understand their ownership of black bodies, their efforts and rhetoric to perpetuate the privilege of slave ownership, nor the work they did to promote science and UC Berkeley. The University should not only remove the superficial endorsement of the LeConte Brothers, but should also work to better emphasize not only the work they did to shape the university, but also the harm they caused as slave owners and CSA officers. Currently the UCMP website ( only has a few sentences regarding Joesph LeConte's life prior to UC Berkeley and only mentions his slaves as a parenthetical aside. Surely, with over 1500 words, the people whose unpaid labor afforded Joesph the opportunity to study the natural sciences from a pedestal of privilege can have more than a parenthetical aside along with his other "property."
7/9/2020 15:32:53 Names on buildings should reflect the current values of the university, specifically the values of diversity and inclusion.
7/9/2020 18:43:02 The name "LeConte" has an undeniably racist history, and there are far better building names with which we can uplift, commemorate, and celebrate actual contributing and non-racist members of the UC Berkeley community.
7/9/2020 19:20:13 As an undergraduate student in New Orleans, I was exposed to numerous public monuments honoring the Confederacy, including through the names of campus buildings. This experience taught me how public narratives of history can greatly impact people's lives. I am shocked that any monuments to the Confederacy exist in my native Bay Area, particularly on the UC Berkeley campus. As a staff member charged with advancing the university's public mission through planning and design of the campus's built environment, it is extremely disturbing that we have a building named to honor a Confederate officer. At a university with such a storied history of leading social progress, the removal of this building's current name is long overdue.
7/10/2020 11:31:27 I support the move to remove the name of LeConte from the Department of Physics building in order to ensure our campus continues to move towards an antiracist space that does not glorify those who have harmed members of our community. I acknowledge that this is a complicated conversation and that some may feel there are contributions from the LeConte brothers that we ought to be grateful for. I argue that these contributions can be acknowledged in ways that better hold their complexity, especially highlighting the harm done to Black community members both past, present, and future, which is not possible with a building name that simply glorifies without inviting further understanding and action to redress past wrongs. The names on UCB buildings should reflect our community values fully and without asterisk.
7/10/2020 11:52:30 Due to the history of the LeConte's specifically their family owning slaves, living on a plantation, and joining the Confederate forces, I believe that it is time to change the name of the building to something that shows a respect for all people.
7/10/2020 13:00:34 We get to choose whose legacies we celebrate. While the LeConte brothers made contributions to Berkeley and to science, their legacies are intrinsically intertwined with America's deepest sins. They supported the Confederacy and specifically used the guise of science to press for the disenfranchisement of Black Americans. Symbols are important -- and while no person is perfect, we can find far better scientists and luminaries to celebrate than the brothers LeConte. I support the renaming of the building.
7/10/2020 14:27:56 I fully support this proposal
7/10/2020 17:36:11 As a staff member, it is important to me that the institution I represent be as welcoming and inclusive of all students, especially Black students who have been and continue to be underrepresented on this campus. This un-naming is a small step in this direction.
7/11/2020 1:13:12 I am a current undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. LeConte's racism reflected in his scientific work is so shameful and thus his name is not one that should be proudly displayed upon a building. No matter the work someone does for any academic subject, it does not erase the racism they have spread and believed in. As a university, we encourage everyone to do better and implement inclusion. This building is not welcoming with LeConte's name across the top. This man should not be held in such high regard.
7/11/2020 13:38:21 He's a racist. How embarrassing for our history.
7/11/2020 23:21:31 I agree with the faculty that it is unacceptable to honor the gross misuse of science and its support of racist ideology.
7/12/2020 22:37:09 I am so glad that un-naming LeConte Hall is being proposed. As outlined in the proposal, Joseph LeConte was extremely racist and tried to use science as a justification for his beliefs. He is not the kind of person that a UC Berkeley building should be named after. I hope that the proposal is approved so that the building can instead be named after someone who represents the values Berkeley strives for. I hope the name change is also accompanied by some sort of plaque that acknowledges that LeConte's work was directly tied to his job as a researcher and professor at Berkeley.
7/13/2020 14:04:29 This seems like a pretty simple issue. It would be easy to find a less fraught choice of person to honor because Berkeley has produced so many excellent physicists over the years.. Furthermore, renaming LeConte would be a small but concrete step towards creating a more comfortable and inclusive environment. I think this is an especially important choice to make in physics because we have such a long way to go in terms of reaching racial and gender parity. Obviously, this isn't a huge step that will fix all social problems, but it is *such* a simple fix.
7/13/2020 18:23:46 I am strongly in favor of renaming LeConte.
7/13/2020 18:31:10 LeConte's legacy is tarnished by his pro-slavery anti-black sentiments. It's time we stop honoring individuals with hateful, racist histories.
7/13/2020 18:42:39 The change would not only allow us to stop honoring a person that does not share our values, but also gives us the opportunity to honor someone who does.
7/13/2020 18:54:23 Charles Darwin Hall
7/13/2020 19:15:37 LeConte hall is named after a slave owner and a racist. It should be changed in respect for the black students on campus
7/13/2020 20:04:16 UC Berkeley should not allow for buildings or colleges to be named after individuals who do not support students and people the university claims to serve. We must uplift and empower marginalized communities on our campus, rather than force them to acknowledge and accept racial trauma on a daily basis.
7/13/2020 20:16:50 Joseph LeConte was a Georgian slave owner and actively promoted white supremacy during his tenure at UC Berkeley. He should not be honored. In 2018, the Berkeley School Board voted unanimously to change the name of LeConte Elementary to Sylvia Hernandez Elementary, after a pioneer in desegregation. UC Berkeley must follow in their footsteps and remove LeConte’s name.
7/13/2020 20:21:22 I'm from Richmond, VA - Where they just removed the confederate statues from Monument Ave – And I am in STRONG support of the proposal to un-name Barrows Hall. Growing up, I, Robert E. Coleman, thought it was “cool” to have a similar name to Robert E. Lee... Little did I know, however, this “cool” similarity was actually rooted in a war fighting to segregate my own half Black, half white family... For this reason, it is imperative we rename Barrows to honor a person whose values match our own. Someone who wasn't a slave owner. Someone who wasn't a racist. And someone who wasn't fighting for something similar to Robert E. Lee. I beg of you, give a Berkeley child growing up an actually "cool" person to honor – Coming from someone who had the opposite experience. Thank you.
7/13/2020 21:34:00 UC Berkeley should immediately and without reservation change any namesakes with which any part of its current community takes issue. That Berkeley students, staff, and visitors must walk through doors that share a name a white supremacist is completely incongruous with Berkeley's academic mission and purported ethical standards. Rename LeConte Hall. Find a new namesake whose actions and words uphold rather that disparage marginalized groups' lives and autonomy.
7/13/2020 21:55:22 I wholeheartedly support the removal of the name LeConte from our Department of Physics buildings. With each day "LeConte" remains on these buildings, we continue to exalt and honor an enslaver and white supremacist (thereby effectively glorifying his bigoted actions and perspectives), which is both wholly contemptible and embarrassing.
7/13/2020 22:02:40 Oppressive and racist individuals should not be immortalized. The building should be renamed after a figure who represents ideals that uplift all people, from all backgrounds and identities.
7/13/2020 22:07:48 I am an alumnus of the UC Berkeley Rhetoric PhD program and current Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies at UCLA. I support the proposal to remove the name LeConte from Department of Physics buildings. Both John LeConte, UC Berkeley's first president, and Joseph LeConte, the university's third president, were slave-owners. Joseph LeConte in particular supported the theories of 19th-century biologist Louis Agassiz, who held racist views about Black people. It is an affront to UC Berkeley's values to keep their name on the buildings.
7/14/2020 9:19:38 YES! Un-name LeConte and all buildings/programs/fellowships etc. venerating problematic racist, white supremacist, colonist figures. Un-naming this building would be one tiny step towards living up to our campus principles of community. This is a part of Cal history that we should be very open about moving away from, and towards a more inclusive community that does not celebrate those who enslaved other human beings.
7/14/2020 9:48:45 LeConte is clearly a man who was undeserving of power in his lifetime and is undeserving of recognition in our lifetime. Stop naming buildings after people, especially in exchange for donations/gifts.
7/14/2020 10:11:53 As a recent alumna of UC Berkeley's School of Public Health, I am strongly in favor of the removal of the name LeConte from buildings on UC Berkeley's campus. It is clear that John and Joseph LeConte's views on race as biological do not align with those of UC Berkeley as a leading academic institution that is known for social justice and equity work.
7/14/2020 10:50:09 I am in full support of renaming this building, as a university that prides itself in diversity, inclusivity and equity, upholding these names are counterintuitive the mission of the university. We have an obligation to dismantle systemic racism, that includes coming to terms with the injustices that the university has perpetuated.
7/14/2020 12:10:35 LeConte advocated for white supremacy. While he was a prominent figure in the field of science, this field was limited to only white men for a long period of time and made science elitist and exclusive. As a leading institution across the world, UC Berkeley has the responsibility to recognize flaws in history and proceed forwards in favor of equality and diversity. In order to do so, we must have our physical campus be representative of its diverse student body.
7/14/2020 12:57:00 We should remove the LeConte name from any buildings on UC Berkeley. The LeConte brothers do not reflect our values as a University and their use of science to justify racism and prejudice was abhorrent and should have no place at UC Berkeley.
7/14/2020 13:11:59 Joseph LeConte's racist views are deeply disturbing, and a building named (at least partly) for him is inappropriate on the campus of a public university. What makes it worse is that the building in question houses the physics department, a field in which Black people are extremely underrepresented. This sends a message of exclusion, in direct conflict with the mission and values of the University. Furthermore, as a scientist, I am particularly appalled by Joseph LeConte's misuse of science to "justify" white supremacy and the subjugation of Black Americans.
7/14/2020 16:03:29 I am extremely disappointed that it took the university 5 years to be convinced that this name should possibly be removed. Have you read the name removal proposal? These guys were monsters! It is well documented! Disgusting.
7/14/2020 16:09:44 The building is named after two sibling traitors to our nation. One of these traitors wrote part of the plan for systematic white supremacy. (Yes, I did write "plan". Systematic anti-black racism is not an accident or unanticipated consequence.) Having a building with a name honoring these traitors says our university is willingly participating in white supremacy.
7/14/2020 16:43:45 As a graduate from UC-Berkeley Physics, I spent many hours in LeConte Hall. I had no idea of the LeConte history, and frankly, never considered the person (or people) behind the name. I really appreciate the summary history that was provided in the email and in the proposal. I see no reason to use the naming of the building to commemorate former slave-holders with a history like that of the LeConte family. There are many notable people that have passed through UC-Berkeley physics who could be commemorated instead. I therefore support the proposal to rename the building.
7/14/2020 16:48:50 While the name LeConte Hall is historically associated with Berkeley physics, the name has outlived its usefulness when it is offensive to a campus population. I favor the name Oppenheimer Hall as a replacement name, assuming that this name is not offensive to a campus population.
7/14/2020 17:28:46 Even the Sierra Club has taken LeConte's name from the memorial they built for him in Yosemite valley. It's time.
7/14/2020 18:30:50 As a physics alum, I will always have fond memories of my time in LeConte Hall. A name change will generate some nostalgia for me thanks to those memories, but now that I am aware of the unsavory aspects of the LeConte brothers' history, I am in full and complete support of this change. This is an opportunity for us to display the modern values of the Berkeley Physics Department.
7/14/2020 19:08:54 Even if it's not actually true in practice, to many students the names of buildings seem like something which it should be easy for the administration to change. So not changing a building's name, when it honors someone who in life would not have respected Berkeley's current study body, gives students the false impression that the administration does not respect, or does not care about, or has contempt for, the student body. So it seems to be in the best interests of both students and the administration if building names, if they're named after people, only honor people who would respect and appreciate the current student body.
7/14/2020 21:18:57 I never knew that stuff about Mr. LeConte. My whole awareness and association is with the building itself. I suggest naming the building after Owen Chamberlain. He was a good professor. (I don't know his feelings about various skin colors, though...)
7/14/2020 22:57:10 You will never find a human without faults. We used to have the Physical Science Lecture Hall for one of the buildings - a name that works. Non human names for buildings solves our problem.
7/15/2020 1:04:20 I am a Cal alumnus who graduated in 1997 with a BS in Physics, and am presently a Research Director at the CNRS in France working in condensed matter physics (Research ID: B-8440-2013). I completely agree with the Physics' department's motives to rename its building.

I propose that we instead honor the accomplishments of the late Stephen Hawking. So far, only a lodging/seminary building was named after him on the Cambridge campus:
7/15/2020 8:37:13 As a university who strides on being the best, this is not our best. How can students of color, particularly Black students feel safe on campus when the university endorses people who have historically harmed our communities. History while important needs to be looked at with full transparency. I am uncomfortable as an alumni to continue to see these symbols of white supremacy on campus under the guise of historical value.
7/15/2020 11:15:13 I believe that the current name of LeConte Hall unjustly honors a person who promoted racist systems and sentiments in their lifetimes. Continuing to honor this legacy is especially harmful to the Indigenous, Black, and Brown campus community members and undermines both the integrity of UC Berkeley and the inclusive campus climate we are trying to build. I therefore request that LeConte Hall be un-named and a name new be chosen in the future.
7/15/2020 12:43:07 It is evident that the use of LeConte’s name is disturbing to the campus community, to say the least. This is an opportunity to honor someone who can inspire the next generation students, not only with their scientific success, but also with their integrity in their everyday lives. I strongly suggest the committee consider naming the building after a female scientist as an act of solidarity with the female students on campus who are often overlooked and misinterpreted. There are many female physicists who are extremely accomplished, well-known, and would be wonderful candidates for naming the building after. For instance, Marie Curie is a Nobel prize winner in physics who is celebrated for her revolutionary discoveries. Furthermore, she is known for turning down monetary awards and insisted that they be given to the affiliated research institutions rather than accepting them personally. She also refrained from patenting her work so as not to hinder further research in her field. These are extremely honorable and gracious acts that we should be celebrating (as opposed to the disgusting actions and sentiments of LeConte). Another suggestion would be Chien-Shien Wu, an alumnus of Berkeley. After hearing that the women at University of Michigan we’re not allowed to use the front door, she chose to attend Berkeley instead for her PhD. She continued to faced many significant obstacles (racism, sexism) throughout her career. Despite this, Wu made significant progress in the field but was denied research faculty positions and research opportunities for some time and payed less than male colleagues. Despite all this, she continued to make significant contributions to nuclear physics and was nicknamed the First Lady of Physics. Like many women, she completed the essential research that would lead other male colleagues to Nobel prizes, and it was stated that she should have shared the Nobel prize in 1957. Wu became more outspoken later against gender discrimination. Honoring Wu would not only honor a female scientist, but also have an the impact of honoring an immigrant who improved science in the United States — a gesture that would be extremely welcome at the moment given the racist attacks on Asian Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic and the current White House administration’s desire to scapegoat immigrants for the faults of the country.

I believe it the physics building should honor a female physicist. It would speak volumes for the university to celebrate women, especially in 2020 that makes the 150 anniversary of women at Berkeley. But all in all, this is an opportunity for the university to affirm their dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion and a genuine effort to look for diverse candidates for renaming the building should be taken. I implore the committee to consider underrepresented and overlooked individuals who have made significant contributions to physics.
7/15/2020 14:58:34 Removing the names of white supremacists from campus buildings is an important step toward building a more equitable, inclusive university
7/15/2020 15:58:48 This is a long-awaited change! Please expedite the removal of this name as we dismantle symbols of oppression on campus.
7/15/2020 16:35:24 Please remove to better reflect our values of diversity, inclusion, and belonging
7/15/2020 17:07:53 I am in favor of un-naming LeConte from Department of Physics buildings. This name upholds a legacy of white supremacy, racism, and anti-Blackness that continues to be detrimental to our community, especially our Black student, staff, and faculty. We need to remove this acknowledgement of systemic racism and uphold the accomplishments, dignity, love, and value of our Black community.
7/15/2020 17:13:54 I stand with the action!
7/15/2020 17:21:54 LeConte does not represent our values
7/15/2020 17:38:57 Stop holding up symbols of white supremacy
7/15/2020 20:40:10 200 SLAVES??? FOR WHAT?!!!
7/15/2020 22:48:28 This is an avowed white supremacist and eugenicist. The only thing he should be honored for is his work with John Muir's Sierra Club. How many folk of color do you think the early Sierra High Trips had? A geographic article published in June 1954 showed not one! (This also is not so good a record, but the SC has since improved markedly.) I've been working on a paper to do with the origin of the Sierra. In this realm, Le Conte offered nothing of any value at all, but we have to cite him simply because he and Whitney were two of the earliest to publish articles on this matter.
7/16/2020 13:20:05 Solidarity looks like recognition of the part you’ve played to perpetuate pain. Un name this hall.
7/16/2020 15:40:09 I would like to suggest the name of Edward Uhler Condon. He has the connection to the history of the Physics Department at Cal - he received the 30th Ph.D. awarded by the Physics Dept. in 1926. He is also the “Condon” part of the Franck-Condon Principle. He worked not only as an academic, but also in government – as Head of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS, now known as NIST) – during which time he helped many scientists who were being blackballed during the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and McCarthy before he himself was placed under investigation and called “the weakest link in our national defense” – with no success after several investigations, while his main accuser was later convicted of taking kick-backs from his office staff. In private industry – he served as the Director of Research at Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, PA and developed a programs that brought together academic and private industry resources together – see Thomas Lassman’s recently published book.
7/16/2020 21:28:31 In favor of removing the name LeConte for obvious reasons.
7/17/2020 11:04:34 The university should not be honoring racists on this campus
7/17/2020 11:09:48 UC Berkeley has a long history of complicity in racism and genocide. The least we can do is to fully reckon with this history and the implications of whose names we choose to honor on campus buildings. It is completely inappropriate for a building on our campus to carry the name of the LeConte brothers, who were overt and vocal white supremacists who enslaved Black people. The UC Berkeley campus is already an unsafe place for Black students who are underrepresented and targeted by campus police--what does a building named after slave owners tell them about the priorities of their university and whether they belong here? We must do better by removing the name LeConte immediately and finding a better representative of our community's values.
7/17/2020 11:40:19 I think a renaming would be in favor of what the school aspires to be as a forward looking and inclusive institution.
7/17/2020 14:58:07 I support the proposal to remove the name LeConte from the Department of Physics buildings due to his blatant and atrocious racism towards the African American community.
7/17/2020 15:01:03 I believe removing the name of LeConte Hall is a needed message to students of color that their voices matter and racist ideology will no longer be tolerated at Berkeley.
7/17/2020 16:36:49 As an ecologist and environmental scientist I am in support of removing the name LeConte from campus buildings. Joseph LeConte, while well supported and celebrated in his time, is no longer an idol that we should memorialize. His name has been removed from other buildings and institutions such as the Sierra Club's LeConte Memorial Hall (now the Yosemite Heritage Conservation Center) in Yosemite National Park and LeConte (now Sylvia Mendez) Elementary School in Berkeley and it is time for UC Berkeley to follow suit.
7/17/2020 16:51:02 I am strongly in favor to remove the name LeConte from the Department of Physics buildings, because, while I think it is important to remember our history, I do not think that building names should commemorate someone with known anti-black and white supremacist views. I would also like to suggest renaming one of the buildings after C.S.Wu. She was a giant in the field of physics through her discovery of parity violation yet achieved this while facing multiple instances of discrimination. She studied as a graduate student at Berkeley under the supervision of Ernest Lawrence and Emilio Segrè. See here: based on the box or here: Tsai-Chien Chiang: "Madame Chien-Shiung Wu: The First Lady of Physics Research"
7/17/2020 16:51:40 LeConte has no place to be memorialized on our campus
7/19/2020 10:27:00 I strongly support removing the name LeConte and renaming the Department of Physics buildings.
7/19/2020 18:37:10 Dear UC Berkeley Community:

I strongly support removing the name LeConte from Department of Physics buildings, as was recently done with the Law Building. Neither John nor Joseph LeConte is someone we should be honoring with a building. I urge everyone to read the Proposal and consider the overwhelming evidence it presents that the LeConte brothers' legacy of racism and white supremacy is incompatible with UC Berkeley's stated values and mission.

There is nothing new about this idea and it's shameful that the University of California has taken so long to act. The Black Student Union has been calling for action on this issue since 2015; LeConte Hall has been on lists identifying it as needing name review since 2015; Department of Physics has voted overwhelmingly in favor of removing the LeConte name; and in 2018 there was an earlier informal resolution in support of a name change after local newspaper articles on Joseph LeConte. There are many such articles, but here's one example: "The Golden State’s Scientific White Supremacist: The Legacy of Professor Joseph Le Conte and Toppling California’s Lost Cause Monuments."

UC Berkeley has a lot of work to do on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, but renaming Kroeber, LeConte, and Barrows is one small, relatively easy step in the right direction. Another important step would be saving the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, which does important research into issues impacting communities of color and provides important resources and support for students of color. For those unaware, UC Berkeley has decided to de-fund ISSI at a time when, in my opinion, its work could not possibly be more important. Thank you for reading.
7/22/2020 18:04:01 Our building names should represent our values. Also, change the street name with the building.
7/23/2020 14:03:12 There is no place of honor for white supremacy.
7/23/2020 16:29:36 remove the name it's racist and it's that simple
7/23/2020 16:33:58 High time!
7/24/2020 19:33:25 All people are imperfect, admittedly some more than others. I propose naming the building after our favorite prime number: 2.
7/25/2020 12:09:38 I spent quite a bit of time in LeConte Hall as a Berkeley student. As a geologist (Berkeley Ph.D. Geological Sciences, 2004), I have frequently cited the scientific work of Joseph LeConte to illustrate the history of geology. I had no idea about his plantation history or why he came to California in the 1860's. Thanks to this proposal, I have learned that the LeContes came to Berkeley explicitly because of their racist views and dissatisfaction with racial integration in the University of South Carolina and their local community in the reconstruction-era South. While here at Berkeley, they continued to espouse these views.

As the flagship of the University of California system, the engine of the 'California Dream', the LeConte name is a blemish on our campus.
7/25/2020 14:34:38 I am pleased with the idea of removing the name "LeConte" from the Physics buildings. In fact, I suggested a resolution to that effect 2.5 years ago to my fellow faculty in my home department. To me, seeing the name "LeConte" on a Cal building is roughly like it would be to see the name of a concentration camp guard on it; neither is appropriate. Although this was not part of the resolution I suggested 2.5 years ago, I now suggest that the name be changed to "Harriet Tubman"––especially since her likeness has been kept off (or at least delayed) from appearing on our currency.
7/26/2020 11:22:57 In addition to the persuasive arguments presented by the faculty of LeConte Hall themselves (particularly regarding "the gross misuse of science by Joseph LeConte to repress and advocate against the rights of African-Americans"), the hall stands in a particularly high-traffic area of campus across from the iconic Campanile. This juxtaposition creates cognitive dissonance as the Campanile purports to symbolize the entire campus, even ringing out the Black National Anthem in solidarity with Black campus community members (, while its tones echo off the walls of a building honoring someone deeply committed to anti-Black racism.
7/27/2020 14:03:17 Racists do not deserve to have a building at Berkeley (or anywhere) named after them.
8/3/2020 16:58:16 It is critical that we remove the name LeConte from the Department of Physics building. It is essential that we do not continue to uphold racist legacies and anti-Black racism on our campus.
8/3/2020 18:51:14 rename
8/4/2020 9:51:57 When even the Sierra Club agrees, it's time to stop honoring white supremacists and eugenics promoters.
8/4/2020 14:50:20 I support the removal of this name from the relevant buildings.
8/4/2020 17:21:21 Black community members have done so much unpaid work to get LeConte un-named. Please don't let it be for nothing.
8/5/2020 10:08:17 I agree that un-naming LeConte Hall signals an important effort to be a more welcoming and inclusive campus. We need to stop perpetuating generational bigotry, and start healing.
8/5/2020 11:06:18 This is an opportune time to finally honor J. Robert Oppenheimer on the Berkeley campus by renaming LeConte as Oppenheimer Hall. Let me list some reasons:
1. Oppenheimer and others convened essentially the start of the Manhattan project on the upper floors of LeConte.
2. Oppenheimer's office was in Le Conte (now converted to a conference room).
3. Oppenheimer suffered from the right wing bent of Berkeley Physics in particular, and the US in general. We have buildings named after a number of his detractors, and its a good opportunity to acknowledge his enormous scientific and societal accomplishments.

In summary, this is a perfect opportunity to acknowledge that some of our faculty were less than perfect, and also honor someone who deserves much more.
8/5/2020 12:52:15 I support the proposal to remove LeConte's name from university buildings.
8/5/2020 14:37:15 It should be obvious that the honoring of this name is perverse for white people in addition to the everyday harm such white supremacist celebration & memorialization impose on every day life for BIPOC people. Make a clear and unmistakable commitment to healing the institution, its community members, and hopefully by proxy, a larger, hurting American polis, in any and every way that you can. This is small action, so please take a stand. We can no longer entertain the deferral of what is right to bureaucratic atrophy. Thank you for your work .and time devoted, to those for whom this is an obvious correction
8/7/2020 9:16:06 Changing the name would be one step in dismantling institutional racism at Berkeley. Changing the name won't complete this journey, but is an essential step in the process. Berkeley needs to quit resting on a few moments of student activism from mid-20th century as hallmark "progressive" identity and look critically at its whole history and current structures as they prioritize the needs and experience of Black students, staff, and faculty today.
8/7/2020 9:48:23 Berkeley purports to be a university that accepts and welcomes people from all races and backgrounds. To uphold those ideals, LeConte must be renamed. Black students should not have to take classes and do research in a building named after a slave owner, a confederate general, or a scientist who "coated his racism in the language of science". If this is the history of our university, it should be acknowledged and understood, but not celebrated. Removing the LeConte name is overdue and will be celebrated.
8/7/2020 10:48:22 In addition to the necessary symbolic gesture of renaming buildings, UC Berkeley should return the Native American bones held in Hearst Museum to their relatives. We should also defund and dismantle UCPD (and maybe actually provide substantive funding for mental health services on campus, for once). But these symbolic gestures can be a start.
8/7/2020 15:48:08 The American Indian Graduate Student Association stands in full solidarity with the Black Student Union and Black graduate students in demanding that the University remove the name LeConte from the Physics building. We believe the views, actions, and opinions expressed by the LeConte brothers to be reprehensible and that it is wholly inappropriate for our University to honor such legacies.
8/7/2020 17:10:51 The racist legacies of the Leconte brothers, especially the racist pseudoscientific work of Joseph LeConte (done in part at UC-Berkeley), absolutely must be condemned by the university. Under no circumstances should UC-Berkeley continue honor these men with a building name.
8/8/2020 15:32:02 The LeConte name is covered in racism and hate. They have no place here at UCB. There is also a plaque by the eucalyptus groove that should be removed.
8/10/2020 9:32:45 Slave owners like the LeContes should not be glorified on campus!

Opposed to the proposal to remove the name LeConte from Department of Physics buildings



7/6/2020 18:13:24

I don’t see any need for changes.

7/6/2020 18:13:36

“ Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right. “

- George Orwell, 1984

7/6/2020 18:29:55

I agree, slavery is bad. I guarantee that barely anyone on campus knew who LeConte even was, much less that his family owned slaves. Someone was probably very proud of themselves for finding some ugly history about a person who died over one hundred years ago. If the name were to change, should we rename the state of Washington? Should we rename the Slavic language family? Should the word "servant" be banned? Should the world's written history, which by and large is written by wealthy individuals who would today be ridiculed and/or prosecuted for their terrible views and actions, be erased?

Tearing down statues of prominent Confederate generals makes sense. Those pieces are blatant symbols of racism and were constructed with that express purpose. But LeConte Hall? Does anyone in their right mind think of slavery and racism when looking at the building?

Renaming buildings is fine in most cases, but when a place such as the University of California has so much history behind the names of its buildings, does renaming buildings over and over not make the historical landscape of the school bland? When should we stop? In another hundred years, should we rename buildings built today because their namesakes had "archaic" views?

The school should stop wasting money and time trying to make themselves population feel good. Nothing will change except a bit of history and a lot of peoples' time will be lost. Faculty who actually care about the education of their students, and who understand that students go into debt for the rest of their lives to study here would probably think about fixing the rampant crime and homelessness in Berkeley before having a Kumbaya circle about a racist who died before the refrigerator existed.

Worry about something else, the school has enough problems as it is.

Then again, I assume I am writing in vain. Having seen firsthand what the faculty actually puts effort into, this renaming is already a foregone conclusion.

7/6/2020 18:52:43

I believe the importance of John LeConte to UC Berkeley's founding outweighs, in this instance, his brother’s gross misuse of science to forward racist views. If the building were named solely in honor of Joseph LeConte, I would understand and support its removal. However, given that it primarily is named for John LeConte, the first Berkeley faculty member, the first Berkeley physicist, and the first acting and third overall president of UC Berkeley, I feel that the proposal serves to erase the university's history more than it does to help marginalized groups.

7/6/2020 18:54:53

We can't apply today's standards to yesterday's people. Remember we are destroying the planet with cars and planes in 100 years they may very well call us evil.

7/6/2020 19:02:08

It is important to consider multiple angles when deciding to strip the names of people for whom our buildings are named, and not just the dimension that sparks outrage: what significance they contributed to the university, to society, and whether or not the first two are negated by crimes committed.

In the case of the LeConte brothers, my understanding is that they were neither leaders of the confederacy, and their views on racial/gender superiority were neither criminal nor even abnormal during the times that they lived (things were weird back then). Their contributions to the sciences and the University of California far outweigh questionable personal beliefs, and one did not come at the pursuit of the other.

For this reason, removing Boalt makes sense. Removing statues of Christopher Columbus and Confederate Generals make sense; but to my knowledge, the LeConte brothers do not rise to that level and I therefore do not support renaming LeConte Hall.

7/6/2020 20:05:43

While I think Mr. LeConte held disgusting views, I think it's important to remember that at that time, they may have been quite common- his actions were not necessarily born of evil and wickedness. Combined with his work as a prominent scholar and early founder of the ever-important Sierra Club, I think it's important to understand that his legacy was not bad- I would argue instead it was simply quite complex. But rather than attempt to smooth over the mistakes of his past, and ours, I think it would say much more about us as a university if we let our uncomfortable history be visible, a more difficult but perhaps nobler decision than a gesture to easily erase. Let's use our decision to honor this man as a pillar for conversation today, embracing our history, and talk about how we can grow from it. Covering up name and pretending LeConte did not have incredible influence over Berkeley, I believe, does not achieve that. While I think it is indeed noble to rename this tower, I say we take the next step and embrace this complex legacy, using it to spark a dialogue. Perhaps instead our next buildings are named after person of color from that era who made distinct contributions to our campus, people who at the time were overlooked. Even great presidents who built this country, and so many of the other men on our buildings, were great misogynists who believed women, too, were genetically inferior. These humans are multidimensional, products of their environment and a context that is worlds away from that of today. As such, I think it says a lot more about Berkeley if we are able to confront our conflicting history head on, and that includes the decision to honor this man with a building, and say, ''this is a part of our history. While we certainty don't agree with everything he stood for, its a part of our campus and our legacy. What's done is done. We cannot change our past, but look forward to our future, using these past actions and buildings as reminders of what built us, and how far we have come''.

Renaming, I feel, is an attempt to pretend this building wasn't named after an outspoken racist; while reflective, is still an erasure of history, a somewhat slippery slope. While this example in particular is merely a name on a building, I think it sets a precedent as to how we approach confronting our past decisions in an age where things are obviously much different. It attempts to forget them, instead of acknowledging them, and using them as a learning tool to move forward. Berkeley is not perfect; hardly any institution in it's past has been.

Let the hall stand. Acknowledge a past that may not necessarily fit in with our agenda today, but no matter how uncomfortable, force us to stand by, rather than attempt to erase it. Let's empower the university to honor its history as a catalyst for change, and a reason as to why we will name our next building after an important person of color. We owe that to the people who his views hurt. Let the two towers stand side by side, a nod to our imperfect past, and an ode to our future of change. Take back the narrative of the influence of such ideologies on Berkeley's campus, rather than smooth them over. I believe this shows the introspection, humility, and reconciliation at the core of who we are.

At Berkeley we do not cover up stains. We use them to empower a new generation of change.

7/6/2020 20:13:32

Judging the person in 19th century using today's standard is ridiculous and unnecessary. Wiping out historical figure is historical negation, which does not help social justice today. Keeping the name on the building absolutely does not indicate the UC Berkeley supporting the moral standard, ideology or any personal character of a man lived 150 years ago. It only honors the contribution of LeConte to the department of physics. The idea that we are offended by the moral standard of any late person is absurd. I strongly oppose the idea of removing any historical name because of the current social movement. If someone believes that keeping the name of a 150-years-old racist makes anyone today a racist, I can only suggest you to do something that is actually useful in improving racial equality.

7/6/2020 20:19:46

Destroying history will not solve it. Great men should be measured by the standards of their era, not our modern cancel culture.

7/6/2020 20:23:52

Dear Committe,

This is the problem with monuments and named memorials: They tend to commemorate human beings… those flawed, complicated sacks of meat who are paradoxically full of accomplishments… and shortcomings. The justification for removing the name LeConte from this building begins by enumerating the accomplishments of brothers John and Joseph LeConte which are nothing short or epic examples of human achievement. I suspect the University elite sanctioning the naming of this facility at its inception observed such upon selecting the family name of these gentlemen. What other family name better represents the origin story of this university, the advancement of scientific disciplines taught in this facility, and the great legacy of Sierra conservation that is held so dearly in our California history than LeConte? I challenge this committee to find a greater alternative. However in doing so, will you find the elusive perfect human being?

I also challenge this committee to hold any other candidate (and themselves for that matter, particularly if they are presently long-lived) to the every changing standard of social and cultural justice. Because if you do, you will most likely find that today's stalwart is tomorrow's villain. No one stands the scrutiny of time in such a dynamic world, yet here we are considering erasing the legacy of these great men on this campus because their mid-19th century viewpoints don't reflect the cultural tone of 2020.

Where does this end? What other wrongs of the past shall be deemed by future generations to outweigh the achievements provided by imperfect humans and which are presently enjoyed by those issuing such judgment? Our list of human icons is packed full of racists, bigots, misogynists, pedophiles, assholes, and jerks of all origin, ethnicity, sex, and creed. They are vile creatures just like the humans who live today, yet their achievements have brought such improvements to our collective well being that we celebrate them. They are the ones who have given us everything we have today. And what we all have today (particularly those fortunate enough to be debating the name of a building at a prestigious university) is the greatest amount of opportunity for success and well-being afforded any human being in history. This is thanks to those who've come before us, LeContes included.

I care deeply when people try to erase the past… or to change vocabulary… or destroy intellectual dissent… simply because someone who has been dead for a century did not live up to modern values. Let us pay the debt of gratitude we owe to the men and women who's shoulders we stand upon, though they be as imperfect as ourselves, and continue to honor their contributions to our society. Let us continue to learn from their achievements and even their imperfections. Let us celebrate what it means to be human, a creature simultaneously capable of beauty, brilliance, and repugnance. If we continue down this path of erasing the memory of our ancestors who else will we learn from?

7/6/2020 22:07:08

This is a dangerous precedent to set, the building is named after LeConte for his contributions to academia, not his connections to slavery. This process of judging historical figures with modern morals is preposterous. Slavery is an objectively immoral part of human history and was connected to many historical figures, but it is unreasonable to expect individuals of that era to respect modern morals and should not invalidate every positive contribution they've made.

Newton has connections to slavery should we strip his name from Physics books?

Should the pyramids be torn down?

What if in 100 years they decide that abortion is immoral, does/will that invalidate the accomplishments of every pro-choice person?

7/6/2020 22:07:49

I think it's dangerous to retroactively punish individuals from history based on todays standards. Today, we are all aware that slavery is an appalling act, but this was the norm once upon a time. Furthermore, The building being name LeConte is to recognize their contributions to academia, and these contributions didn't change, and so neither should the name of the building.

7/6/2020 23:05:46

We live in tumultuous times with technology and access to information is greater than ever before. Information can be used for enlightenment or as a weapon. As one of the top universities in the country, it is the responsibility of Berkeley to educate its community to be able to assess information and use that information for good. However, that process is only possible through honest dialogue and open access to all information.

Berkeley's motto "Fiat Lux" - Let there be light - clearly outlines Berkeley as a place to achieve enlightenment. However, for every light there is a shadow cast. No individual is beyond moral reproach. To deny that would be to achieve ignorance rather than enlightenment. Every story, battle, and conscious action has at least two sides. Many individuals make decisions which are later deemed to be immoral. However, such accusations are further muddied by the fact as a society constantly striving for self-improvement the goal is for the clarity of moral truths over time. However, this is only possible through a deep reflection of history to learn how to learn from the actions taken to improve the current understanding and make a better future.

This process critically relies on the first step of reflecting on history. However, in this process one must be careful to protect oneself from allowing hindsight to cloud one's view of history. In order to learn from history, it must be understood in context. This does not mean we should condone the actions of individuals which we now recognize were wrong, but rather we should strive to understand the situation in order to see why in the moment they thought the actions were admissible so that we can be wary of similar situations in our own lives and hopefully make actions that will later be deemed morally responsible.

With all that said George Orwell in 1984 wisely wrote: "Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right."

As a university striving for enlightenment, these words should cause hesitation at the idea of removing the name of a building. What are the long term ramifications of removing the name of a building. One example is that it will likely tarnish the entire legacy of the individual. Some may say that this is acceptable. However, it is often an oversimplification. It is choosing to focus on a particular set of actions and defining an individual by only those action. Furthermore, the removal of an individual's name from the building will likely bring an end to the reflection of the actions of that individual which further hampers self-improvement especially for cases such as John LeConte who was greatly admired in his time (he was twice an acting president for Berkeley - 1869 and 1875). These cases where an individual in their time was successful and admired and yet now is viewed as amoral are of the utmost importance when attempting to navigate the complex moral decisions of our own lives.

With all this in mind, I strongly recommend keeping the building's name as is but both in the building and online create a repository of historical resources related to LeConte's life including both instances of peer respect and instances of amoral decisions so that each member of the community who passes through the building's halls has the ability to learn from analysis of LeConte's life to avoid committing similar immoral actions.

(Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge that the committee has stated that the name of LeConte Hall was initially brought under scrutiny due to a series of articles about Joseph LeConte (brother of John LeConte) and not John LeConte for whom the building is named after. According to a university website "John Lawrence LeConte Hall, dedicated in 1923 and located in the central campus area. It is appropriately occupied by the Physics Department." While I do not mean to imply that John LeConte did not have flaws, it should be further considered that to remove the name of a building for accusations against a relative strikes at the very heart of the idea of self-improvement and enlightenment. I do not mean to suggest that the decision should not be carefully considered. I just wanted to emphasize that the decision should be made in light of John's and not Joseph's actions.)

7/7/2020 0:47:23

We cannot judge the entire character of LeConte based on one aspect of his life and also not considering the context when he lived

7/7/2020 3:28:24

Educational environments should not be completely neutered of their history to save students from experiencing the slightest offense. Joseph LeConte did have views that are considered wrong and offensive today, but we must look at him as a citizen of his time and not one of the 21st century. I am sure that many of us today have views that are considered normal today but may fall out of favor in the future. In the end, we must remember that Joseph LeConte, in his study of natural sciences and advocacy for sustainable resource use, was a net positive force in American history and the progress of humanity. UCB is one of the most welcoming schools for minority students. As a minority and as an immigrant, I can say that I am intrigued by the rich history of the University of California when I see LeConte Hall, and not at all offended. To the students that are offended by the views of Joseph LeConte, I urge you to remember the great disservice that will be done to future students if we were to erase the history of this great institution. UCB thrives on the richness of its past. This is a landmark of Berkeley, and the university should not divorce itself from its history by renaming LeConte Hall. A plaque does absolutely nothing to rectify the blatant destruction of UCB's past that is being proposed here. I urge all rational minded individuals to reject this proposal at once.

7/7/2020 10:41:58

Scientific truth is decoupled from moral valence and even more so from from views on unrelated topics. LeConte Hall is named as such in recognition of the LeConte brothers' contribution to mankind's pool of knowledge, and this name should not be erased.

Furthermore, doing so would violate a promise to past generations and set a low upper bound on the value of legacy. Why build anything if your children will tear it down?

7/7/2020 11:04:13

This is a disgrace that Cal is even considering this. Cal should be the champion against cancel culture. Free speech means the right to speech that makes others uncomfortable. Stand up against the mob--you have already let Antifa hospitalize people for the "crime" of attending lectures on campus (Milo). Fight for our university and our illustrious alums, fight for our history. We are the flagship University of California. Defend our history against the violent mobs and stand up for a classical education.

7/7/2020 12:33:25

I first stepped into LeConte Hall more than 50 years ago. I know little of the background of LeConte nor do I care. It appears that the drive to rename LeConte is based on current negative perspectives regarding LeConte's behaviors and attitudes from more than a century ago. I do not believe this is sufficient reason to rename the building.

However, if the drive to rename were driven by positive reasoning, I might agree. The reasoning being that we are renaming LeConte to honor, say, Owen Chamberlain, not because we, in the 21st Century, find LeConte's attitudes of more than a century ago repugnant.

7/7/2020 12:43:50

The current administrators are stewards of a timeless university and as such they betray their duty when making these permanent changes to campus solely to conform to a modern political zeitgeist. Misdeeds aside, 140 years ago the LeConte’s were giants in their fields and the removal of their legacy by those of lesser historic gravitas amounts to an act of vandalism.

7/7/2020 12:56:43

Although I don't personally feel very strongly about the topic, I felt it might nonetheless be helpful to furnish your council with some robust arguments against the name change, for the purposes of balance and diversity:

1) Behind every great fortune there is a great crime. It is virtually impossible to amass a great deal of money without doing something that future or current generations will regard as unethical, and this is true for LeConte and for Kroeber. Are we to scrutinize the origins of all great donations and collaborations with our institution in the same manner? If so, how could we accept government grants from the military industrial complex responsible for so much death and suffering in recent decades? How can we accept donations and collaborations with tech companies that exploit quasi-slave labor around the world? Or of financial firms responsible for massively amplifying the global wealth gap and capturing the policy-making of democracies? There’s too much hypocrisy in singling out LeConte and Kroeber while enthusiastically playing ball with problematic individuals and institutions in the present day. It is fair to object to this type of hypocrisy.

2) Redemption and atonement are important ethical principles. If either LeConte or Kroeber hoped to pay an indulgence by supporting the academy in order to purge their sins, we should have no issue with this. It seems like a sensible and pragmatic framework that encourages charitable behavior from wicked people. If we retract our end of the deal, what incentive is there for future sinners to give us large sums of cash? I’d rather take their money and do good with it.

3) It strikes me as dishonorable to have accepted the money but not pay the kleos promised. A deal is a deal, and we should not break our word.

4) Politics change, morals change, and ethics change. I am concerned by the prospect of constantly editing the past to bring it in line with a sanitized present. I realize that citing Orwell is becoming a cliché, but here goes anyway: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present”.

5) Humans are extremely complicated. The line dividing good and evil runs the hearts of every person. Even culture heroes like Ghandi or MLK have problematic aspects to their characters. I fear that we are setting a purity test for our benefactors and even ourselves that is far too stringent. Accepting that we are all complex and flawed seems like the right direction for progress.

6) Renaming these structures is arguably a superficial attempt to sanitize our ugly history. We are on stolen land, conquered through blood, fire, and genocide. Practically every aspect of our current prosperity, and virtually every stone on this campus is in part the product of tremendous historical and continuing injustice and violence. Unless the University is seriously considering returning land to the Ohlone tribe, or somehow rectifying the nightmare of the past, I fail to see how petty symbolism in any way remedies the sins of those who founded this institution. The horrors of our origins are not unique: similar bloodshed can be seen in the past of nearly every successful nation and institution on this planet. However, there’s something demoralizing about doing very little materially to help those who suffer in the present, while offering up some symbolic sacrifice to whitewash our association with the past. I disapprove of this type of shallow pageantry, however popular it may be. I would much rather see UC Berkeley take a firm stand against the open-air slave markets in Libya today, the use of slave labor in Qatar and the UAE, the slave-like conditions of illegal workers in the Californian agricultural sector, the exploitation of workers who produce our electronics, or even the working conditions of our own GSI’s and adjuncts, than busy itself with nomenclature and other superficialities. There are plenty of problems in the present, and dallying with ‘fixing’ the past is a depressingly elitist and bourgeois response to injustice.

I hope this doesn’t come across as too hostile: I intend only to sincerely engage with the call for arguments pro and contra, for the sake of diversity. I’m actually fairly neutral on the whole issue: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

7/7/2020 13:16:29

See John 8,vii.

7/7/2020 13:37:29

Although I understand the natural outrage generally felt whenever an educated person of the present examines the beliefs, actions, and remarks of those of the past, I believe that it is essential to take a more nuanced view of history than the division of people between good and evil, oppressor and oppressed. After all, if we do not take this nuanced approach to history, we risk viewing all those who came before us as vile bigots, at least in respect to those values we hold today. For example, Henry Ford was among history's greatest inventors, essentially revolutionizing the way we produce goods and move around. He was also one of the most antisemetic people in American history, and was praised by Adolf Hitler himself for these antisemetic views. As a Jew, I can still admire the great achievements of Henry Ford and his legacy in the modern world while also understanding that he was a flawed and racist man. The good does not erase the bad, nor the bad the good. A another example, we can look to a man widely considered among the greatest presidents in US history: Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt led the world against the Nazis and was in part responsible for preventing the capitulation of the UK. He also rounded up hundreds of thousands of US citizens of Japanese descent and threw them into internment camps. We can still name buildings after him, praise his achievements, and erect statues in his honor while also understanding his terrible actions against Japanese Americans. This is the lense through which I look at the renaming of the LeConte building. The University of California did not name this building in honor of the LeConte Brother's actions in the Civil War, nor Joseph's racist writings. UC Berkeley named the building in honor of their good deeds in establishing the school, as well as John's advancements in the field of Physics. We do not need to erase the good he did in order to understand the bad. I believe it is possible to understand and acknowledge both.

7/8/2020 11:29:10

The movement to remove names from buildings across the United States has nothing to do with protecting students, but rather, is an attempt to erase from memory the legacies of all whom, according to modern standards, have held questionable views, specifically on race. It is worth mentioning that Joseph LeConte held slaves and that this is disgraceful, even for his times. Nobody would claim that his stance on slavery and white supremacy should hold any merit today. At the same time, though, Joseph LeConte held a prominent role at the University of California, mainly contributing to Geological research. This ought not be forgotten.

George Washington held slaves, but he led the United States through its Revolution. It is notable, as well, that near the end of his life, Washington freed his slaves. Thomas Jefferson held slaves, but he also wrote the Declaration of Independence. Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, but at the same time, deepened U.S. involvement in Vietnam. These men were not perfect, but because of their prominent role in history, we remember them. We ought to remember the entirety of their legacy: the good and the bad. Give credit to the accomplishments worthy of praise, and criticize the deeds that we deem sinful.

Who should we erase from the history books? Nobody. Teach all about what each significant person did, including Joseph LeConte. Make known his scientific achievements, and his stance on race. Learn from a holistic examination of each person, and draw wisdom from their achievements, and especially their wrongdoings.

The movement to erase history is not likely to stop at removing the names of controversial figures from buildings. This can already be seen in the movement to remove the etched faces of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. I then ask, what is next? Where does the movement stop? This movement seeks to make caricatures of complex, nuanced people whose legacies must be analyzed in their entirety. The removal of names from buildings may seem inconsequential, but it is the threat of what follows that is of true concern. Every tyrannical society seeks to repress history, because within history lies wisdom for the people to gain, and wisdom is the enemy of tyranny.

I wish to preserve the name of LeConte Hall not because I wish to honor his legacy of slavery, but because I believe that there is wisdom to be gained in seeing that his track record on race was so despicable. Perhaps a prominent display of LeConte's accomplishments and wrongdoings is in order, however, his legacy should not be forgotten.

7/8/2020 16:56:02

There should be a neutral option above. I don't know whether I am for LeConte or not because it is a bit confused. On one hand, Joseph and John LeConte did help the Confederate side. But, when I look them up, John Leconte was also the president of Berkeley two times and a professor of physics. He made numerous contributions to physics, such as measuring the speed of sound. Joseph Le Conte was the first professor of geology and natural history and botany and he made many scientific contributions, especially in the field of geology. I just wanted to give some context to the situation.

7/9/2020 16:24:41

I am opposed to the wholesale removal of the LeConte name at present because the formal proposal makes virtually no effort to convict John LeConte of malfeasance, attacks not the man but the name of LeConte, and involves John LeConte through guilt by association with his brother Joseph. Now, it may be that John was as despicable in his beliefs as his brother, but the formal proposal presents no such evidence. LeConte Hall serves the Physics Department, and John LeConte was a physicist. Perhaps the hall could be renamed John LeConte Hall. I am prepared to change my opinion if a serious case is made against John LeConte. I invite the committee take the proposal back to the drawing board.

7/9/2020 17:07:31

If we remove names from buildings just because we retroactively disagree with the thoughts or actions of the individuals, what does it say to future benefactors who may want to contribute to the university so that others know of their contributions for years to come, yet now know that their contributions would not be honored if future generations dislike anything that they did?

7/12/2020 14:58:57

The names Joseph LeConte and Joseph N. LeConte are legendary for their contributions to making Berkeley a world class university. Regardless of the discipline housed in this building should honor the LeContes.

7/13/2020 21:14:51

LeConte Hall has been one of my favorite buildings on campus. It has such a beautiful name. Unless there is history behind it, why change the name? When the building is named after a person.

7/14/2020 8:16:19

I am in all support of the BLM movement; however I do want BLM turn out like Culture Revolution in China. In the Culture Revolution in China in the 70s, anyone and anything that has a tad bit of link to capitalism is oppressed relentlessly. BLM is an American cultural revolution, and it is necessary for the US to proceed. But just because the person is racist does not necessarily veto everything he/she did. In addition, one person grew in a certain cultural context, it is not entirely his/her fault. Finally, the LeConte building for me does not have much association with the person, instead this name reminds me of all the crazy classes I took there. I imagine this is the name for many of the students ---- LeConte is just a name, not that person. In sum, I do not think we have the full justification to entirely remove the building's name just because BLM.

7/16/2020 10:44:12

Changing names of buildings and removing statues is cheap, low cost. Identity politics are also low cost. The left needs to focus on expensive issues, such as class inequality, labor, and systemic roots of racism. It is more expensive to fix the real problems, and I believe that is why we are seeing this mob mentality against symbols.

7/17/2020 16:39:36

It is a bad idea for UC to climb aboard this "history erasure" bandwagon that is sweeping the nation. LeConte must have done some good things or he would not have been honored up until now. Important historical figures should be represented, warts and all, or else no-one will be honored. Next they will have you "cancelling" E.O. Lawrence, Edward Teller, Richard Feynman, etc..

7/17/2020 23:09:13

Are racist writings from over 125 years ago relevant to today's discussion? , independent of their source. Nobody worries about about all the physics mistakes make 125 years ago. I can't see how a symbolic renaming contributes materially to any future solutions for inclusion and diversity. I've sent more detailed comments to the building-name-review directly.

7/20/2020 13:32:39

I think one needs to distinguish between the two brothers. I can certainly see the case for removing Joseph's name from the building given his racist views but not that of John who did not express similar views and who also made distinguished contributions to the university and whose scholarship was not racially distorted or influenced. I don''t see why John should be dishonored because of what his brother wrote. My suggestion is that we rename the building John LeConte Hall to continue to honor his research and administrative contributions to the university and remove that of Joseph..

7/24/2020 18:04:38

There are two LeContes. The more distinguished of the two, John, deserves to have a building named after him, given his substantive contributions to Berkeley. The second, Joseph, probably does not, given his embrace of racism in his writings. If there is to be a renaming, call it the John LeConte Hall, to specify which LeConte is honored in the naming.

7/28/2020 19:47:02

A school is not just an institute to educate the new generation, it is also a place where we pass on traditions and knowledge to the new generation. One of my most fond memory of going to school at UC Berkeley was associated with the building names. I was taking this xxx class at this xxx building. This is something very special for everyone. No alumni want to go back to their school and feel like they do not belong, they are a stranger to their own school, and everything has changed. Some changes are out of necessity some are simply pointless. Imagine the name is changed now, and we don't like it, so we rally up more people, and change it back in the next few years. How frequently the name of a building can be changed? How many times a building's name can be changed? How much effort and energy do we need to put in to keep a tradition and memory alive?