Naming of the Library
Message to Campus Community (March 10, 2022)
Dear Campus Community,
I am writing to update you on the intensive work being done by the task force to review the naming of our library.
As we reported to you in November, we learned late last semester that Henry Madden held deeply anti-Semitic views and Nazi sympathies, as reflected in his own writings and papers, which are housed in our library. In light of that discovery, President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval created a task force composed of people from the community as well as representatives of students, faculty, and staff who are invested in the library. In my capacity as Chair, I have been convening the Task Force weekly since early December.
Dr. Madden left 53 boxes to the University of materials that he curated before turning them over to the library. In the past few months, a team of highly respected University researchers and scholars - Dr. Bradley Hart, Associate Professor of Media, Communications and Journalism; Dr. Amila Becirbegovic, Assistant Professor of German and Ethnic Studies; Dr. Ethan Kytle, Professor of History; Dr. Blain Roberts, Professor of History; and Sarah McDaniel, Associate Dean of the Henry Madden Library - have been conducting a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the contents of the boxes as well as other relevant materials from third-party sources and recollections of living faculty and staff who knew Dr. Madden. This analysis is centered on determining whether there has been a trajectory of thought that led Dr. Madden to reject the views he held as a young man. I’m very proud that our students have been involved in this process from the beginning: A group of history students working under the direction of Dr. Kytle and Dr. Roberts are also exploring the Madden papers to complete class assignments.
Personally, I have been to the archives and have seen deeply hurtful and disturbing documents that are not consistent with the values of our University and our library.
A draft report is expected to be completed by April 11 and will be made available for review on the Task Force’s landing page. We will then begin accepting feedback through open forums and a feedback form available on our landing page.
We have scheduled two open forums to hear your feedback and answer your questions:
In addition, we will be consulting with the Academic Senate and Associated Students, Inc. for their guidance.
We will incorporate appropriate feedback before producing the final report, which will be available in May. The report will serve as the basis for determining our next steps forward as a community.
On behalf of the task force, I want to thank you for your patience and understanding as we process this very difficult information. I look forward to updating you again when additional information is available.
Executive Director of Government Relations
Task Force Chair