Page 3

December 7, 2016 The Signal page 3

Loser / Hall’s namesake called into question

continued from page 1

to the children’s homes. After this information came to light in McGreevy’s class, Osborn, Loos and Moncayo distributed flyers and petition sheets that called for Loser Hall’s name to change. “Changing Loser’s name is the short-term goal, but in the long term, it’s hoped that (the TCNJ Committee on Unity)... will be sustained and able to bring students together across organizational lines to collaborate in action around social justice issues pertinent to the campus,” said Rosie Driscoll, a member of McGreevy’s research team and a junior history and women’s, gender and sexuality studies double major. The case According to Hedgepeth and Williams v. Board of Education, Trenton, NJ, parents Gladys Hedgepeth and Berline Williams sued the Trenton Board of Education in 1943. Their children — Janet and Leon, respectively — lived only two blocks from Junior High School No. 2, but were, instead, forced to attend the all-black New Lincoln School. Court documents state that New Lincoln School was significantly farther away than Junior No. 2, and the classes and resources it offered were far inferior. All of Janet and Leon’s white neighborhood peers were allowed to attend Junior No. 2 without resistance. In 1944, the case reached the New Jersey Supreme Court, where Paul Loser was called to testify. Trenton NAACP lawyer Robert Queen, who represented the parents, questioned Paul Loser on his role in assigning students to New Lincoln School. In the context of history, Trenton’s school segregation might not seem too unscrupulous. After all, segregation was the norm

Sydney Shaw / Editor-in-Chief

Loser Hall greets guests near the College’s entrance. across the country at the time. But in the case of Trenton and Paul Loser, segregation violated the district’s own written policy, as well as state law. “The law states no child between the ages of 4 and 20 years shall be excluded from any public school on the grounds of his religion, nationality or color,” Queen told Loser in a hearing, according to the case files. After Paul Loser acknowledged this fact, Queen continued his questioning. “Aren’t both Leon Williams and Janet Hedgepeth excluded from Junior Two on the ground of color?” Queen said. “Yes, in accordance with the policy and philosophy of education,” Paul Loser responded. When Queen asked if separate schools should be set up “for such minority groups in the city as Italians, Poles, Jews, Hungarians, and Germans,” the elder Loser said that “he had not given this

proposal any thought.” The State Supreme Court ultimately sided with Queen, Hedgepeth and Williams, and the Court’s decision struck down segregation across the state. In 1991, the Trenton Board of Education changed the name of Junior High School No. 2 to Hedgepeth-Williams School to honor the mothers’ fight for equality. “We think it clear that the children are unlawfully discriminated against. It is unlawful for Boards of Education to exclude children from any public school on the ground that they are of the negro race,” the New Jersey State Supreme Court wrote in its decision. A decade later, the case was cited in a much more impactful case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS, in which the Supreme Court struck down school segregation throughout the U.S. Despite the legal defeat, documents show that Paul Loser continued to delay the integration

of public schools in Trenton. In response to his reluctance, an organization known as the Trenton Committee for Unity (TCU) was formed in order to place additional pressure on the board. In late April 1945, upset parents began writing letters to Paul Loser and the board to decry the continued segregatory policies. During the TCU’s administrative committee meeting that month, Paul Loser “maintain(ed) that the majority of colored parents wish their children to attend Lincoln School; that Negro Educators of the highest authority say that segregation in the junior high school period is best,” according to the meeting minutes. The reaction “I find it egregious that a school that markets itself as an inclusive and — in many ways — progressive public institution has a building on campus in honor of a segregationist who would not have

wanted a significant portion of our community to be here,” Driscoll said. “As someone who is fairly connected on campus and trained in grassroots organizing, I feel responsible for engaging in action to raise awareness and engage others in a campaign to change the name.” College President R. Barbara Gitenstein addressed concerns through an email sent to the campus community on Thursday, Dec. 1. “In the last two days, aspects of Dr. Paul Loser’s past have been brought into focus on campus. The information that was shared first in posters and later in news articles is due to the diligent archival research of several of our students,” the email reads. “Our students documented that he espoused beliefs that run counter to our commitment to an inclusive campus.” Gitenstein wrote that she hopes to hold a campus presentation for students, faculty and staff to weigh in on the matter. “TCNJ must be thoughtful in understanding the full historical context but forthright in confronting the facts,” she wrote. “We must decide what is the most productive plan of action when we learn that our campus has honored someone whose belief system is inconsistent with our mission, including building an inclusive community of learners.” College spokesperson Dave Muha said such a meeting probably won’t be feasible until the spring semester begins in January. “The conversation that we’re about to begin is not a debate about whether or not to change a building name,” Muha wrote in an email. “The dialog will be a sharing of what the students learned through their research, an opportunity to consider additional information, as appropriate, and a processing of what this means to us as a community.”

SFB approves funds for three spring CUB events

By Olivia Rizzo Staff Writer

The Student Finance Board (SFB) looks to the future as it grants funding for some of the most highly anticipated events of the spring semester. The College Union Board (CUB) received funding for three of its largest events for the spring semester. The organization’s Spring Lecture was fully funded the amount of $28,996. “CUB’s Spring Lecture always successfully attracts a large amount of students based on the quality and fan base of the entertainers. The lectures will appeal to different types of students by sticking to the traditional but successful and popular topic of discussion that the TCNJ community has expressed interest in pop culture and the entertainment industry,” the proposal packet said. The organization was fully funded $1,850 for its Spring Comedy Show. CUB’s annual comedy show attracts a large number of students. In previous years, comedians such as John Mulaney, Bo Burnham and Nick Offerman have visited the College. The cost of the talent, agency fee, hospitality, creative publicity as well as building and security fees are covered by funding, for both events. The Spring Lecture and Spring Comedy Show will take place on separate evenings during the spring semester in Kendall Hall. The Spring Concert received $191,243 in funding. CUB’s annual concert is the largest concert of the year, bringing in a large portion of students at the College. “We aim to make this concert one of our largest and most high-energy events of the year. We plan on making this

year’s concert even better than ever before,” the proposal packet read. Funding covers the cost of talent, staffing and security, catering and hospitality for staffers, and water giveaways. The Spring Concert will take place in April in the Student Recreation Center. Chi Upsilon Sigma was fully funded $750 to host its 2017 winter retreat. The retreat allows the organization to plan and organize their spring semester events, as well as providing a bonding experience for older sisters and newer members. TCNJ Musical Theatre was fully funded $1,000 for its

spring production of WIRED. “WIRED is a 24-hour play competition involving the writing, casting, producing and staging of several plays,” the proposal packet read. Funding for the event will cover the costs of Library staff supervision, along with costumes, props and food for all participants. WIRED will take place within the first weeks of the spring semester. Even though SFB agrees to finance certain events, there is no guarantee these events will take place. The approval only makes the funds available.

SFB grants funding for CUB’s lecture, concert and comedy show in the spring.

Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor

Profile for TCNJ Signal

The Signal: Fall '16 No. 13  

The 12/7/16 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey’s student newspaper

The Signal: Fall '16 No. 13  

The 12/7/16 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey’s student newspaper

Advertisement