Campus News

Justice Hall recommended by SGI

A long-awaited new name for Fenwick Hall has been sent to Fr. Graham

By Robbie DZIERZANOWSKI and Joseph Cotton, Staff writer and campus news editor
Photo courtesy of Xavier.edu
The Stained Glass Initiative has proposed the idea of renaming Fenwick
Hall, whose name-sake was found to owned slaves, to “Justice Hall.”

In a statement released last wednesday, The Stain Glass Initiative (SGI) recommended that Fenwick Hall be renamed Justice Hall.

Baptist Chaplain and member of the SGI Reverend Nelson Pierce stated that SGI wanted the conversations coming out of the name change to be centered around the Jesuit ideal of justice.   

“We thought of the parameters we were given for people, and there was no perfect fit despite a lot of good suggestions,” Rev. Pierce said.

After they ruled out naming the building after a person, they began to look at names based on ideas. Members of the SGI committee mulled over Magis Hall as well as Solidarity Hall until the name Justice Hall was recommended.  

“Someone floated Justice Hall, and it seemed to fit with the conversations we were having,” Peirce continued. “We say the fit in both the ongoing work to repair and the need to acknowledge the wrong that has been going on.”  

Pierce went on to discuss the possibility of naming each of the four Fenwick towers after people who have come out of Xavier or those who have intersected with the university in some way. 

“We wanted to help future generations of students, staff and faculty to come back to the question of what Xavier is, what we are honoring and who we are lifting up,” Pierce stated. 

According to Rev. Pierce, things are still up in the air in terms of the timeline in which a name change will be finalized. He went on to say, “It’s my understanding that there is a hope to have things finalized by the end of the semester.” 

The decision to rename Fenwick was made after Father Michael Graham president, assembled a team and worked with theology professor Dr. Walker Gollar who found out Fenwick’s connection to slavery during 2016.

Students seem to be a bit hesitant on accepting the new name, however 

Maggie Ryan, a junior Philosophy, Politics and the Public and International studies double major, said, “I definitely think that a name change is necessary given the connections between Bishop Edward Fenwick and slavery, but I don’t think that Justice Hall is the best name.”  

Two alternative names Ryan suggested were “Father Bischoff Hall” named after Xavier’s iconic Father Al Bischoff, S.J., better known as “Fr. B”, and “Father Graham Hall”, named after the retiring president who has had a significant impact on campus  over the last 20 years.