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Debate surrounding name of Porter Butts Gallery continues at Wisconsin Union

MADISON, Wis. - The debate surrounding the name of a gallery in Memorial Union continued Wednesday. 

The Wisconsin Union held a forum to gather public opinion about the naming of the Porter Butts Gallery, which is named after an alumnus who who was associated with a fraternity called the Ku Klux Klan. This comes after a report outlining the KKK's connection to the University of Wisconsin-Madison's campus. 

Butts' daughter, Sherill Butts-Randall, said she feels her father is being misrepresented in the conversation about renaming the gallery.  

"He'd be working with the chancellor to further inclusivity and diversity, and I think that the people who filed a hate bias complaint don't really understand who my dad was at all," Butts-Randall said. 

Those who support changing the name of the gallery said that any associations between the university and the KKK make spaces uncomfortable for marginalized students. 

The meeting Tuesday was the first of two forums to discuss the fate of the Porter Butts Gallery and the Fredric March Play Circle. The next forum will be held on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Old Madison East room in Memorial Union. 

“We are actively seeking out feedback from our community on these names,” said Susan Dibbell, Wisconsin Union deputy director and Union Council member, when the two forums were announced. “We want to hear what people are feeling, information they would like to share and their thoughts.”

The Wisconsin Union announced in May that it will be temporarily covering up the names of Porter Butts and Fredric March.


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