1100 N. University

Request to rescind and remove the name of the Clarence Cook Little Science Building at 1100 N. University Ave. approved

On Sept. 1, 2017, a U-M undergraduate student and four LSA faculty members submitted a request that the name of the Clarence Cook Little (“C.C. Little”) Science Building be reviewed pursuant to the review process. The PACOUH carefully evaluated the request and in January 2018 unanimously recommended to me that the name be rescinded and removed. In doing so, the committee independently considered “…the content of Little’s work, the trajectory of his life and career, his role as University President from 1925-1929 and the most recent finding of historians on the history of his period, the movements with which he was affiliated, and his science.” Their review also took into consideration the contents of two public forums on the campus in 2017 exploring the life and career of C.C. Little. In addition, the PACOUH received and reviewed resolutions in support of renaming that were submitted by Central Student Government and LSA Student Government.

The PACOUH recommendation to remove the name is based on several conclusions. The central tenet is that in the areas of eugenics and tobacco smoking “…[Little] lent his scientific (and University) prestige to public policy campaigns supposedly based in science…whose scientific foundations were minimal, exaggerated, or actually contradicted by mainstream scientists or the contemporary scientific consensus.” The committee emphasized that Little’s support and participation in these campaigns had serious negative consequences noting that “his 1920s campaign for eugenic measures while University President – immigration restriction, sterilization of the “unfit”, anti-miscegenation laws – and the 1950s campaign sowing doubt about the links between smoking and cancer negatively affected the lives of millions.” Given these conclusions, they found it “particularly problematic that [Little’s name] is on a building dedicated to science.” Additional factors underlying their conclusion are detailed in the appended recommendation.

President Schlissel recommended that the Board of Regents authorize the rescindment and removal of the name of the Clarence Cook Little Science Building as soon as is practicable.

Additional information

Request for review
Submitted by: John Carson, associate professor of history; Matthew Countryman, associate professor of history; Joshua Hasler, U-M undergraduate student; Martin Pernick, professor of history; and Alexander Stern, professor of American culture, women’s studies, history, obstetrics and gynecology

PACOUH research and recommendation

President Schlissel’s request for authorization to rescind and remove name