Daughter says Porter Butts’ legacy at Memorial Union is being misrepresented

Porter Butts participated in UW KKK
Daughter says Porter Butts’ legacy at Memorial Union is being misrepresented

After the Wisconsin Memorial Union will temporarily take down the name of longtime Union director Porter Butts, his daughter is saying he is being misrepresented.

Sherill Randall said her father was an influential director of the Memorial Union for decades. He was behind many beloved Memorial Union features, including the Terrace and its famous chairs.

Butts also established more than 100 student unions across the world, putting an emphasis on art and free thought. Randall said she hopes that will remain his legacy.

“He has always had a very open environment at the union and included all groups,” she said. “In fact, if some group excluded people they weren’t allowed to be in Union.”

Butts is also listed as a member of the University of Wisconsin Ku Klux Klan, and after a report outlining the Ku Kux Klan’s connection to campus, the Wisconsin Union announced that they will be temporarily covering up his name as well as another known member.

Daughter says Porter Butts’ legacy at Memorial Union is being misrepresented

“To have his name associated in this way, is very painful,” Randall said.

Randall said her father’s involvement in the group was because the campus Klan was an all-white, honorary society made up of representatives from campus fraternities. She said it was meant to organize social functions.

The decision on whether to permanently remove Porter Butts’ name from the union will come by the end of the year.