Name change sought for university student union

Thursday, October 5, 2006

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Most students at the University of Missouri-Columbia know Brady Commons as the hub of student life, a place to grab lunch, buy textbooks or play video games.

Erin Kennedy, a senior sociology major from Blue Springs, has a different perspective on the student union: Its name must go because Thomas A. Brady, a former history professor, vice president and dean, worked to purge the campus of gay students and professors more than a half-century ago.

After learning of Brady's involvement in a campus disciplinary committee that targeted homosexuals, Kennedy and fellow students Megan Lee and Patrick Buckalew spent the summer poring over Brady's personal papers in the university archives.

The documents portray not only a distinguished campus leader who promoted access to higher education for returning World War II veterans but also someone who regularly corresponded with university president Frederick Middlebush over ways "to establish machinery for identification and apprehension" of gays.

The student union is in the early stages of a $58.7 million expansion that would nearly double its size.

The project has been temporarily dubbed the MU Student Center in hopes of attracting a donor interested in naming rights

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