Committee on Elon History and Memory

March 12, 2019, 12:30-2 p.m., Alamance 101

I. Approval of Minutes
II. Updates
III. The Question of Coordination
IV. Working Group Progress Reports
V. Semester Goals

I. Approval of Minutes from February 12

We deferred final approval of minutes until the April meeting, when all members will have had sufficient time to review them.

II. Updates

A. Two groups coordinated a short-term response to the discovery of images of blackface in Elon yearbooks
1. AAASE Lunch-and-Learn (Tuesday, 2/26 – faculty/staff-centered)
2. AMS 210 Open Class (Wednesday, 2/27 – student-centered)
B. Petition regarding Long building
1. No one had concrete information on this petition, though its reputed existence raised questions about the role of the committee
2. Jim Piatt and Brad Moore resources on naming practices
C. Visiting speakers (President Book’s suggestion – e.g. Tim Tyson, “What We Remember, What We Forget, and Why.”) – the engagement working group should investigate a timeline for bringing people to campus
D. USS Conference – substantial delegation from Elon scheduled to attend March 14-16 at William and Mary.

III. The Question of Coordination

A. Discussion with Leigh-Anne Royster, Director of Inclusive Community Development
1. Royster addressed two main issues
a. How do structures at Elon model our values vis-à-vis equity
b. How to coordinate activity across offices
2. CDICE (Consortium for Diversity and Inclusion Experts)
a. Network of 85 practitioners
b. Partners with COR
c. Could provide manpower for Committee on Elon History and Memory initiatives
d. Desired institutional configuration unclear; possibility of integration (and/or formal liaison) through a seat on the CDICE steering committee
B. Additional offers of assistance/engagement from academic departments and the chaplain’s office

IV. Working Group Progress Reports

A. Inventory
1. The inventory process is far along. There are existing datasets, with uneven amounts of information, regarding named buildings, art displayed around campus (at least that formally curated through Elon’s collection), and memorial benches.
2. We discussed whether Advancement might have additional information regarding research on named buildings that it is appropriate to share in this context. The working group will reach out.
3. Archivists, of course, maintain inventories of additional historical materials as a matter of course, and we discussed whether our vision for archivists/the library was to support the archivists work or to create a separate database. For the moment, we are using existing databases and supporting ongoing work within departments as much as possible.
B. Coordination and Advising
1. The group proposed a basic process for how to manage inputs from different stakeholders (new discoveries, artifacts, etc.).
2. The core idea is to automate the process so that one electronic portal leads interested parties to the right offices. Perhaps there might be the possibility to upload resources to an online repository.
C. Engagement
1. The committee is not planning a survey for the spring, judging the community to have reached saturation.
2. In order to follow up on the idea of adding more Elon-specific historical content to the various history months at Elon, we resolved to initiate a meal with the relevant coordinators.
3. In light of the news articles on blackface at Elon and on history and memory at other institutions, we charged the working group to generate an “issue list” and to begin thinking through responses.
4. Also under this group’s charge was an investigation of possible speakers, as per President Book’s comment.

V. Semester Goals

A. Since we are not planning a spring survey, we will instead use the April meeting to sort through two test cases:
1. How we would handle questions about the Long building
2. How we can support existing initiatives like CDICE’s “Lest We Forget”
B. Agenda Setting for 2019-20 (May Meeting)

• March 14-16, 2019 – Universities Studying Slavery semi-annual conference (Host: William and Mary’s Lemon Project). USS will meet on March 14th, and the Lemon Project’s symposium will occur March 15-16.
• April 9 – Next scheduled meeting

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