Macalester College removes name of College's first president from building

(FOX 9)

The Board of Trustees at Macalester College approved removing the name Neill from Neill Hall and the Neill Room in Weyerhaeuser Hall Tuesday,  both of which were named after the College’s first President Edward Neill.

Reverend Neiil was the first Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Minnesota ad well as the first Chancellor of the University of Minnesota. He then served as President of Macalester College from 1874-1885.

In addition to education, Reverend Neill founded both the First Presbyterian Church and House of Hope Presbyterian Church.

In 2013 the Board of Trustees renamed the Humanities Building after Rev. Neill, however recently discovered writings have caused the board to rethink the name.

“The language and attitudes expressed toward indigenous people in those writings are racist and dehumanizing in the extreme, even by the admittedly different standards of the time," Chair of the Board of Trustees Jerry Crawford and College President Brian Rosenberg said in a statement. "There were many Presbyterian ministers of the period whose attitudes would have been far more supportive of indigenous people than Neill’s." 

The board did reiterate they do not plan on erasing Neill from their history, but instead hope to find a way to recognize both his accomplishments and "deep flaws" in ways other than naming a building after him.

The name of Neill Hall will change back to Humanities Building for the time being.