Hebert Hall to retain name

Martha Sanchez, News Editor

Tulane University will not rename Hebert Hall, the focus of a debate over its namesake’s segregationist views, because documentation signed at the time of Hebert’s donation requires the name remain in perpetuity, the school announced this week. (Ella Helmuth)

Tulane University will not rename Hebert Hall, the focus of a yearslong debate centered on its namesake F. Edward Hébert’s segregationist views. Tulane is instead opting to prominently display facts about Hébert’s past because they say legal obligations require the name to remain on the building. 

In an university-wide email, President Mike Fitts and Provost Robin Forman said documentation signed by Tulane leadership at the time of Hébert’s building donation requires the building to retain his name “in perpetuity.” 

Instead, the email said, the school “will prominently feature contextual facts” regarding the Hébert name at both the Uptown Hebert building and the F. Edward Hébert Center in Belle Chasse. 

In 2020, Tulane created the Building Naming Task Force to consider the renaming debate and issue a recommendation. That group moved to remove the Hébert name and began discussions with the Hébert family. 

Following such discussions, Tulane was unable to reach an agreement to modify the legal requirement that Hébert’s name remain on the building,” the email said. 

The debate over the Uptown building’s name is not new. In 2017, the Undergraduate Student Government passed legislation requesting that the building be renamed. Since then, students and faculty have placed unofficial banners and signs bearing the name “Gwendolyn Midlo Hall Building,” in honor of the historian of Black enslavement who passed away this August.

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