Yost Name Review

Over the course of the 2020 calendar year, the Office of the President received requests to review the honorific naming of Fielding H. Yost on Yost Ice Arena. Pursuant to the published process for historical name reviews on university buildings, the President’s Advisory Committee on University History has reviewed the matter and conveyed to President Mark S. Schlissel a preliminary recommendation to remove the name.

As the review process provides that in certain instances, “where relevant and after appropriate consultation with the President, a broader, community outreach may be invited,” the President’s Advisory Committee on University History is inviting interested U-M community members to submit feedback through June 7, 2021 on the Committee’s Preliminary Summary Recommendation and Historical Analysis. Each feedback submission will be reviewed and an overall summary of the community feedback will be shared with the president as part of the Committee’s final recommendation.

The U-M community (students, faculty, staff, and alumni) is invited to leave feedback, which will be published on this page, via the form below. Anyone who wishes to submit feedback for consideration, but does not want their submission to be published online, may do so via email or U.S. mail.

Anonymous feedback submissions are not permitted.

Documents for Public Feedback

Report on the Fielding H. Yost Name on the Yost Ice Arena: Preliminary Summary Recommendation

Report on the Fielding H. Yost Name on the Yost Ice Arena: Historical Analysis

Comments

  1. Donald Coucke
    on May 25, 2021 at 11:27 am

    I love this University, and have worked in the Sarasota U of M club to promote fellowship and support students from our area who want to attend our University.
    I was considering leaving the university in my will.
    It distresses me greatly to understand that a name of a beloved coach will be removed because he was judged not to be a PERFECT person. He who is without sin may cast the first stone to remove his name.
    If the committee succeeds in removing the Yost name I will remove the University from my will and all financial support. Donald D Coucke BS 1969.

  2. Kai Mason
    on May 25, 2021 at 11:57 am

    What a shame that so many of the accomplishments of the institution, attributed overwhelmingly to racists, ethnocentrists and eugenicists, are built on the strife and pain of students of color and particularly Black students. What a shame still that most of this strife is endured in silence, by students who have more stoicism and strength in their pinky toe than these “leaders” display in their entire lifetime. I’m beyond tired of the pain of Black and Brown folks being normalized as a fact of life, when really it’s something caused, time and time again, by the tyranny of oppressive groups. We deserve better–and as an alumna and employee of the University of Michigan, I say our students deserve better. How telling that most of the opposition to the Yost name change comes from the fond “memories” of non-Black alums. . . I don’t think this is experience is one for you to comment on or decide! A perfect opportunity to name a building after Willis Ward.

  3. Jordan Gaarenstroom
    on May 25, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    I do not support removing Yost’s name. If we remove people based on social standards from the present we will be doing this on repeat every 50 years.

  4. Gerald Major
    on May 25, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    . I am a graduate of the Business School (BBA’64). I have always been proud to be referred to as a Michigan Grad.
    I have been deeply troubled by the “cancel culture” that has raised its ugly head in recent years. History, in my opinion should be factual. It should accurately document the good as well as the bad.
    Mr. Yost has been credited with many positive accomplishments during his career at Michigan and has been recognized by the naming of a building in his honor, first as Yost Fieldhouse, and later, Yost Ice Arena. His bowing to pressure from a Southern school not to play Willis Ward was absolutely wrong. On the other hand, the presence of Mr. Ward on the team was commendable during a period when most of our country wrongly practiced segregation.
    Many who have gone before us who have made great accomplishments, have also been guilty of some evils. I would suggest that if the namesakes of all of our buildings are fully researched, we may end up only with buildings named after Jesus Christ, Moses, Mohammed, and a small handful of others.
    I would recommend retaining the name of Yost Ice Arena with the erection of a large plaque that summarizes Mr. Yost’s greatest accomplishments with equal attention to summarize his policies and actions that were wrong, and so stating, including his decision not to play Mr. Ward.
    Going forward, let us accentuate the positive and learn from our mistakes of the past so as not to repeat them.

  5. Bobby Wentworth
    on May 25, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    Concerning the Yost Arena issue:

    First, what is the whole story on how this took place? Was Yost pressured by the Alumni to bench the player? Did the student body pressure Yost? Did the student body lay silent as Yost benched the player, even though they may have disagreed with the decision? Maybe they even agreed? What about the faculty, administration, and the athletic department, are they culpable as well? What about the entire U of M team of that era? Should the alumni, students at that time, faculty, administration, athletic department, and former teammates all have their degrees, awards, rescinded, their accomplishments diminished, their titles stripped, and/or their good deeds washed away by an incoming generation?

    Are we morally able and willing to make those types of judgments, on these types of issues, and with literally every student here being born after after Yost left U of M…in 1941?

    What system should we put in place today that will give the incoming generations the ability to harshly judge our mistakes, rescind our degrees, erase our accomplishments, and destroy our legacies?

    Who here is/are arrogant enough to believe that they are perfect, void of all flaws? Who is arrogant enough to believe that our current ideologies, beliefs, and morals are so superior to the previous generations, that there is no ability, need or desire, to improve? Who is arrogant enough to believe that the incoming generations will be so inferior, so unintelligent to our current generation, that they will not be able to improve on the world we leave them? Let that person cast the first stone.

    I would like to end with two quotes from those who are a bit wiser:

    “History is the sum total of things that could have been avoided.”
    ~Konrad Adenauer

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”
    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  6. Kevyn Monier
    on May 25, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    I believe the name should be changed due to his racist beliefs. However, if this is nothing more than a symbolic gesture; then what is the point. I hope the name change will come with policy or practices that benefits the African American community solely.

  7. Hugh Smith
    on May 25, 2021 at 12:54 pm

    I believe that the name of Fielding H. Yost should continue to be honored by the University of Michigan.

    His accomplishments for the Michigan Football and the Athletic Department are unparalleled. He is the single most important reason that we have the football tradition that we have today, including Michigan Stadium.

    His history with respect to race is evidently mixed. His treatment of Willis Ward was simply not right and nobody should make any excuse for it. On the other hand, he was supposedly very progressive in allowing Jewish student athletes to play on his teams. History is complicated, and Yost’s history is no exception.

    To the extent that there is a racial reconciling going on right now in the University of Michigan (and national) community, part of reconciliation involves forgiveness. Clearly, Yost was not perfect. But he was recognized for a reason and that reason has not changed. So tell the whole story, the glorious parts and the parts that we wish we could change (but cannot, no matter how many names are changes, statues are toppled, protests are held or people are supposedly “canceled”).

    Keep Yost’s name on the building.

    Thank you.

  8. Douglas Grover
    on May 25, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    I do not believe there is anyway one can justify Fielding H. Yost’s decisions or actions concerning the participation of black athletes on Michigan’s football teams. He was dead wrong on that subject. However, we all have areas in our lives where we are wrong. We are blind in many areas! If you dig deep into any of your heroes past you will find dark spots. If we are going to judge we must do so by looking at the balance of work. We must look at the achievements as well as the failures.

    Yost did far more good than bad for the University of Michigan. Don’t revise history by banning his name. Leave his name on the building. Make sure the whole body of Yost’s work is made know.

  9. Dennis Severance
    on May 25, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    Yost Arena should not be renamed. I do not think that Fielding Yost’s name can honorably be expunged by the University 100 years after the man’s contributions/mistakes were made and now that he has no opportunity to rebut or explain events that occurred at that time. I think the woke process here is merely virtue signaling and that the energy, time and resources of the community are better applied to address current manifestations of racism and sexism and xxxism rather than sitting in a committee and erasing names from buildings. Requiring trigger warning, hiding in safe spaces and cancelling individuals with whom we disagree is not what made the students and faculty the Leaders and Best. I am dismayed by the direction in which we have wandered and the destination to which we have arrived.

  10. Paul GRANT
    on May 25, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    I am strongly in favor of removing Yost’s name from the arena.

  11. Michael Bangert
    on May 25, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    To be candid, I understand the desire to honor people by naming things after them, but sometimes this practice verges on idolatry. With that in mind, I have no particular preference in naming of Yost Arena. But, as an alumnus, I do have some reflections on the current situation.

    The analysis posted by or on behalf of the committee was a disappointment for a number of reasons.

    Regarding Yost and the principle of pedagogy, the group’s response was simply a question. The effort lacked sincerity and was disrespectful to me and other UM stakeholders.

    “That this racial segregation of football was going on at a time when both the State of
    Michigan and the University of Michigan were formally committed to complete racial
    equality…” This excerpt from the summary of the case is misleading at best, and for scholars, the assertion is almost as disingenuous as saying the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ as adjudicated in Plessy v Ferguson was a formal commitment to equality. Per the UM’s own online history exhibit on ‘Diversity in Student Life’, the Regents’ proposal in ’29 to provide African American women housing (described variously as “near the Negro district” or “at the edge of the colored section”) was viewed as an attempt at deliberate segregation. And, in ’34 the NAACP claimed that Jean Blackwell was barred from living in the Cook dormitory because she was “Negro.” In the same year, Franklin Lett was barred from playing in Big Ten basketball games. Per UM’s history webpage entitled “An Unwritten Law”, “the allocation of roommates based on race would not end until the late 1950s.” As far as the state of Michigan is concerned, Malcolm X’s father was alleged to have been murdered in Michigan by white supremacists. While the allegation was in dispute, the racial prejudice and mistrust at time wasn’t. And, 3 years before Yost’s death, conditions precipitated in a race riot in Detroit, and another 24 years later. In short, you misrepresent the depth and breadth of racial animus of that time both in the state of Michigan and on the University of Michigan campus. That doesn’t diminish the gravity of any of the bigoted, racist behavior perpetrated by Yost, but it does diminish the authority with which the committee speaks and represents the university.

    “While there is now a robust statement of policy and guidelines the relative lack of a statement of principles guiding the naming policy complicates the issue of reviewing the names selected in the past.” Yost is justifiably castigated for not treating all equally. Ironically, the statement above is a concession of the same: there isn’t a uniform standard for evaluating all naming. Either one treats all equally or one doesn’t. Hypocrisy isn’t a good look. In The University Record article posted yesterday (24MAY2021), it references a “profoundly deep and negative impact he had on people of color.” Whilst appreciating the candor, I have little evidence the UM has or will explicitly evaluate all naming against such a standard.

    At an objective level, it’s unclear why Yost’s negative impact on people of color should be treated differently than more recent naming. It’s not very controversial to state that Nike products have been made by people of color working in sweatshops. Insufficient wages and poor if not hazardous working conditions have been some of the complaints. Even if the current situation is better, the past is still the past. If we’re going adjudicate the sins of the past, be transparent with the criteria and apply the same standard. Through such a prism, the UM-Nike deal smells like blood money made tolerable 169 million bucks and the distance of people of color in time and space.

    If UM and this committee want to be woke, be woke to all. My advisor received the Arthur F Thurnau professorship. I worked in the Titiev Library and Hatcher Library. I received the Margaret Wray French award. I used to pass by Juwan Howard (now the David and Meredith Kaplan Men’s Basketball Coach) and Jimmy King in front of Angell Hall while I lived in Stanley House. I still remember my first concert at Rackham Auditorium (Nigel Kennedy) and Hill Auditorium (Living Colour). And, I remember the time I took my kids to Schembechler Hall. Etc.

    Long story short. Either do away with naming or apply a common standard throughout the university.

  12. Ronald Raymer
    on May 25, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    I strongly oppose changing the name of Yost Arena. It is grossly unfair to hold a coach born in the 1870’s who died in 1946 to some vision of righteousness from 2021. He was trying to play a team from the deep south in the era of Jim Crow which likely would cancel the game if this player was allowed on the field. He made a decision for the good of the team to play the game. I suspect that 100 years from now they will remove the name from Schlissel Hall due to some perceived travesty he has committed today that doesn’t match up with 22nd century mores. The people 100 years ago would be absolutely appalled at what would seem to be abject immorality on campus today and 100 years from now they will likely look back on today as the dark ages. Let Yost be judged by his own era, not ours…

  13. Timothy Morris
    on May 25, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    First and foremost I would like to thank the committee for the time, effort, attention, and commitment to investigating, researching, and analyzing subject matter content that is not a very easy discussion to have in society. Furthermore I would like to assume the following statements are true for sake of your recommendation:
    – We all agree that racism, discrimination, prejudice, bigotry, and failure to provide equal opportunity based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. is evil period.
    – Racism and discrimination did exist and still exist to an extent in the world whether we are talking about Southern Mississippi in 1925, colonial settlements is the north east in the 1700’s, or the Gaza Strip today.
    – People accept and refute the hypothesis (used as a philosophical term meaning a proposition made as a basis for reasoning without assumptions) of racism and how to move forward in a very passionate and personal manner.
    With those assumptions made I find myself weighing the pros and cons and looking at the future impacts a decision like this will have as my future generations follow in my footsteps and attend this great University. I gave both your research and your recommendation the time and due diligence that it deserved and on my own I have come to the following conclusions:

    1.) Your research and entire recommendation shows personal bias. I can see this bias by the committee using a request example that uses italics for emphasis to add weight to the theory that the university powers to be chose to not make certain choices. Bias is also blatantly obvious within your recommendations. Not only do you want to remove the name Fielding H. Yost from the Yost Ice Arena, you also want every element of this man’s name on campus to include information regarding his role in these transgressions from almost a century ago. This is a personal attack on his name that coincides with adding a surname of “racist” to his family name and I don’t think that benefits society, Mr. Ward’s family, Michigan alumni, or Mr. Yost’s family.

    2.) Your research lacks facts and makes many assumptions. Any research or fact based paper should never include terms such as “gentleman’s agreement”, “unwritten rules”, “unspoken agreement”, etc. Those are misguiding terms that imply “hear say”. On page 12 of your report of historical analysis you made reference to information about a basketball player named Franklin Lett not being allowed to try out for the freshman basketball team because of “unspoken agreement”. The next page in an attempt to sway support you claim that he was not allowed to try out for the Varsity team. Varsity during this time was predominantly upperclassman and you also fail to mention that Franklin Lett was also active on the football roster. Also the word “suppose” or “probably” should never be included in an analysis or research paper.

    3.) Many of your facts are extremely one sided and for a while I felt like I was reading a documentary by Michael Moore. You make assumptions to facts that don’t contain the entire story. Were bad in equalities happening at that time? Yes. Was racism and prejudice a norm in many parts of society? Yes. Was this a good thing? Absolutely not. But factual miscues or redactions to give half-truths are misleading and whether from the committee or from the references it is the committee’s responsibility to gather and validate all factual information or the entire research is discredited.

    4.) On the last page of your recommendation you state that you reject the view that Yost was being a “man of this time” and that others chose to refuse to uphold racist decisions. I find many flaws with this stance. First point is if you look at the twenty years after Yost left the University of Michigan from 1941 to 1960 you will find that the average number of African American football players on the team was less than 2. The first African-American basketball players did not play for the University of Michigan until 1951-1952 one year after professional basketball was integrated. Rosa Parks did not refuse to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama until December 1955. It wasn’t until nearly a decade later with the help of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that this country truly stepped to the forefront and noticed that change was needed and required. My point of this small history lesson is this situation and the actions of Fielding Yost, although un-acceptable now, were very common and considered the norm during this time period. I feel there are many lesson we have learned and can continue to learn by looking at the mistakes made by leaders before us but erasing a name is not the answer.

    5.) Where does this movement of cancel culture stop? If you remove the Yost name from the ice arena is the next step to remove the name Kipke from the University of Michigan Campus Safety Services Building? You may also need to change the name of the street also since it’s located on Kipke Dr. After Yost you will have to launch the same offensive on George Little, Tad Wieman, Harry Kipke, Fitz Crisler, Bennie Oosterbaan, Bump Elliot, George Veenker, Frank Cappon, Osborne Crowles, Ernest McCoy, William Perigo, Dave Strack, and any other coach associated with the university prior to 1964. Please note the name Fitz Crisler is on this list so is Crisler arena next on your list?

    I am opposed to removing the name Yost from the Yost Ice Arena and adding any additional comments to any items that bears his name on the University of Michigan Campus. I do propose that there is an opportunity to elevate the awareness and pay tribute to the perseverance, courage, and honor displayed by Mr. Willis Ward. As a traditionalist I can argue that no building should have the name of any individual on it because Michigan is more important and bigger than any one individual but that would be a campus wide initiative and would not be due to this cancel culture movement that has gripped this country.

    My apologies for the lengthy reply.

    P.S. If you are going to reference a person’s name and use their work as a reference you should make them aware of how their work will be used and clarify their involvement and contribution. I’m sure Mr. John U. Bacon agrees.

  14. Douglas Kahn
    on May 25, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    I strongly oppose the removal of Yost’s name from the Arena. The committee did a commendable job of stating the many accomplishments of Yost and of his faults. Yost not only had a fantastically successful record as a football coach; he had the vision to anticipate the modern popularity of athletics and spearheaded the construction of great stadiums that continue to serve the students and alumni. He expanded the athletic programs at Michigan and created a climate of excellence. He had his faults, and his treatment of the Georgia Tech game was a reflection of one. The extent of that fault has to be measured in the context of the time in which it occurred. It is true that some courageous individuals opposed the seating of the black player, but they were a minority, and the university’s officials and regents either supported the decision or took no action to overturn it. Yost was a southerner and grew up among the views of his region. We can condemn him for not having the courage to go against the stream and to do the proper thing, but the extent of our condemnation should be mitigated by the circumstances of the time in which he lived.
    We live in a time in which there is movement to focus on the faults of past figures and to erase their achievements because of those faults. Heroic figures of the past, such as Lincoln, Grant, Columbus, and Teddy Roosevelt have been demonized and tributes to them have been removed. The trend is to focus on the faults of an individual rather than on his accomplishments. The problem is that all of our past icons were human beings, and there have been few if any perfect human beings in the history of our world. If an individual’s personal fault is to wipe out huge accomplishments, we will have no monuments to any past figures.
    The purpose of naming a building for a person who accomplished so much for the university is to remind us of the glories of the past history of the university. The appreciation of that history is the foundation on which the present occupants of the university can build. Removing Yost’s name will not hurt Fielding Yost; he is beyond our jurisdiction. it will deprive the current generation of a reminder of the great tradition on which this school rests. The committee proposes that there be a book maintained in the university setting forth the achievements of Yost and his faults, Such a book would likely gather dust and be read only by a few scholars. The presence of the name on the Arena has a daily impact and brings to light the glory of the school’s past.
    Finally, there is irony in the Committee’s recommendation in that the committee is guilty of the same type of transgression of which it accuses Yost. The Committee criticizes Yost for not following the path of the courageous minority who opposed the benching of the player. The Committee has adopted the policies of modern day yahoos who wish to denigrate and destroy the legacy of past achievements and has rejected the opposition of the minority who wish to preserve our heritage.
    I am an emeritus professor of the university, and I served as the FAR for the university to the NCAA and to the Big Ten. I love the school and hope that the Regents will set an exemplary example by rejecting the current hysterical surge to erase what is good in our past. Michigan prides itself on being the leader and the best, and it should show that leadership by not bowing to unreasonable demands.

  15. Shaina Larmee
    on May 26, 2021 at 5:04 am

    I see no reason to change it, people will still refer to it as Yost. If they wish to read up on the name, articles like this will be readable and shareable. Keep it, let both sides of his life be in the spotlight. Put the funds you would have put towards the removal of the name to the groundskeepers, give them the funds to fix parts of the stadium that needs fixing, deep cleaning, etc.

  16. Louis Daher
    on May 26, 2021 at 6:01 am

    It’s clear from the report that Yost’s racist views did not represent the ideals of the institution at the time he was a staff member at UM nor does he represent current values. His views and decisions had a direct impact on a star athlete, affected former President Ford, and indirectly contributed to the institutionalize and normalization of segregation outside of the south.

    Since it’s considered an honorific to have a building named after you. I think it would be more fitting to rename the complex after Willis Ward with a plaque explaining the former name and what occurred. This may cause future generations to remember a way in which the university community, directly and indirectly, supported segregation. Those who stood by promoted through their complicity the idea that the concept of racial inferiority existed and validated it as did those who choose to name the building after him. Those actions do not uphold our current ideals, nor even the ideals that were present in the last century.

    This is an opportunity to acknowledges the ascendency of the values that many in the community held almost 100 years ago.

  17. Josephine Herndon
    on May 26, 2021 at 7:27 am

    I do NOT support the renaming of Yost Ice Arena.

  18. Samuel Tikkanen
    on May 26, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Don’t change anything. It has been Yost Field house from 1924-1973 and Yost Ice arena since 73’. Don’t change the name of a historic building because of cancel culture. Erasing history does nothing but cause problems.

  19. Michael Daniel
    on May 26, 2021 at 8:00 am

    It’s likely there are things about almost anyone with a building named after them on this campus that would make some (if not most) people cringe. I guess that’s the danger of naming things as permanent (or as quasi-permanent) as buildings after people.

    That being said, I have no issue with pulling Yost’s name down in this instance and replacing it with someone else. If it were left to me I’d name it after Red Berenson for his contributions to Michigan Hockey and have statues of both Yost and Willis Ward in the lobby noting Yost’s accomplishments (and major shortcomings), as well as Ward’s important place in U-M’s history.

  20. Kate Hockaday
    on May 26, 2021 at 8:22 am

    The name should be changed.
    There have been arguments that Yost did more good for football than bad for people of color and that his inclusion of a black man on his team means that his “gentleman’s agreement” to keep football white is a product of its time and something to overlook. However, it is not the place of white people in power to decide how bad racism was and whether there was a lasting effect on people of color. Yost, whether because of his own ideology or as a side effect of societal norms, did not uphold and respect the values that the University is trying to uphold nowadays.
    I would love to see it renamed after a person of color. who are underrepresented in these building names and whose contributions for many years are overlooked.

  21. Lee Katterman
    on May 26, 2021 at 8:25 am

    I support removing the Yost name from the building. I support some kind of display that describes Yost’s influences for the betterment and detriment of the University and society.

  22. Stephen Drews
    on May 26, 2021 at 8:52 am

    I oppose the removal of the Yost name!!

  23. Brittany Widin
    on May 26, 2021 at 9:04 am

    I support removing the name Yost from the arena. I see no reason why the name of a person who no longer represents the community values would stand on a building today. The name cannot be kept with disclaimers and so we endorse the man entirely every day that his name is on the arena.

    It is okay to make changes as we learn and grow. It’s okay to evolve. I certainly hope that, if in 100 years the name picked now is found to no longer represent the community, that it is changed.

    There also seems to be concern (read as: white fragility) about where to stop if we remove Yost’s name because we might have to remove more names. And yes, that is a scary thought – that so many of us might have to reckon with our very existence on this continent. Being afraid of reckoning with an abusive and traumatic history (or present if you are brave enough to admit) is not a reason to avoid doing the right thing.

    Let’s do the best with what we know to be true today. Today – Yost no longer represents the values of the UM Community.

  24. Karen Riptoe
    on May 26, 2021 at 9:14 am

    Fielding Yost’s racism and bigotry is appalling. Although he was a winning coach (and a product of his time), he failed in his obligation to recognize people of color as equals and worthy of the rights and considerations that are due to every person. After reading the reports, what was glaring to me was the number of opportunities he had to make choices for equality and fairness and instead chose to perpetuate the systemic racism of that era. In our era, we now are faced with the amazing opportunity of choice and I hope we choose in favor of equality and fairness–removal of his name. Wouldn’t it be something to replace his name on the building with that of probate court judge Willis Ward.

  25. Aurora Belopolsky
    on May 26, 2021 at 9:45 am

    I trust the committee’s response because it is clear that the committee did consider that Yost existed in a different time. Racism was condemned back then. There were men and women who refused to uphold racist decisions back then. Yost was not free of judgement then and should not be now.

    When discussing U-M’s history, we should consider the eyes of our future. Can the way we explain our history cause harm to others? Should we consider the harm to Yost’s reputation over the harm to our current community? How do we want to welcome our current and future students to the University of Michigan? How do we want to show them that we accept them as belonging here? How do we want to teach them about our history and honor? How do we show them what is important to us?

    Yost’s history will not be erased simply because we remove his name from a building. U-M’s history will not change. We are simply changing how we look at our past. How we explain our past to our community is what will change. I welcome that change.

    Please rename the Yost Ice Arena.

  26. Randall Frank
    on May 26, 2021 at 10:06 am

    There should be little debate on the correctness of removing Yost’s name from the ice area for one simple reason: asking Black athlete’s who as part of their current daily lives bring daily honor to our University to enter a building named for someone who clearly and quite publicly said “you don’t belong here” is a slap in their face and more,

    It’s exactly the same argument as to why monument’s to Confederate officers don’t belong in public spaces. How a current society decides to honor (or not) its history isn’t simply about recording history, it’s about making a public statement, after considered study and understanding, on our values.

    Yost’s historical contributions, many of which were significant, aren’t being erased from our history. But we are making a statement that Yost’s well documented racist statements and actions are sufficiently abhorent by current standards (and even standards of the time) as to justify removing his name from a building which is used on a daily basis by those he said shouldn’t be here.

  27. Ellen Mueller
    on May 26, 2021 at 10:12 am

    As an alumna and current employee of the University of Michigan, I wholeheartedly support the committee’s recommendation in removing Yost’s name from the arena. White society needs to take a step toward reckoning with its past, its present, and its future. Many ask when will this end, I believe we will need to work on this forever, or at least until we have an equitable and just society for everyone.

  28. Kevin Undeen
    on May 26, 2021 at 10:56 am

    I don’t support renaming Yost Ice Arena. But as a general principal, I don’t think any names should be attached to buildings on this campus. In the past, names were attached to honor great achievement. Now, you will find it difficult to walk into individual offices within buildings that don’t have names or sponsorship attached to them. And why is that, money. Donors contribute money, administrators feel obligated to put names on things. If we vetted each of these names and corporations, how many would survive the standards of the offended. Probably none. Why – because we are a flawed species. We are all flawed and we have all made mistakes.

    We’ve just experienced an absolutely miserable stretch in which lives were lost and livelihoods ruined with a future that is uncertain at best. Of all the agenda items of bringing this University back to normalcy, this is where we’re going. Really?

    The name Yost doesn’t even register to the average person as anything more than a landmark. That’s the reality. You all know this. But it just seems like it’s a race to be most offended these days.

  29. Mark Rosentraub
    on May 26, 2021 at 11:34 am

    Before submitting my feedback I read most of the responses, and I respect the passion expressed by everyone for the University. I understand that flawed individuals made substantial contributions that helped defined the University, and I also acknowledged that we are all flawed. I was disappointed by the comments by those who were concerned about what they described as woke culture, PC, or some other popular phrase to demean a reflection on our individual or collective past.

    The University of Michigan is a science-based institution and as we learn new things, we change what we teach. That is what makes our University great. When we focus our analyses on the past we also learn new things and we incorporate them into our teaching, our mentoring, and in our definition of what it means to be leaders and best. It is not woke to teach the best medical practices that save lives just as it is not woke to understand and correctly teach our past.

    People asked where does this end. For a science-based organization it never ends. We study, we learn, and we teach even when our findings displease some people who to ignore what we now know. We now know that Mr. Yost was not at the forefront of social change, nor willing to advance the institution for which he professed love. He followed the protocol of his age and by doing so he choose not to lead. For the leaders and best at a science-based institution we cannot ignore what is now known. Would a renamed arena, “Ward-Yost” suffice? For me that does not work because Mr. Yost, for all that he accomplished for Michigan Athletics did not live up to the creed of being a leader and best. Students going forward should know that when we say leaders and best we really mean that. Yost Arena is part of our past, but not our present or future.

  30. Ellen Frank
    on May 26, 2021 at 11:46 am

    After reading the historical analysis done by the committee (which I encourage everyone expressing an opinion to do), I strongly agree with the decision to remove Fielding Yost’s name from the fieldhouse. I believe this is necessary, not primarily in order to tarnish or ‘cancel’ the memory of Fielding Yost, but as an action the University of Michigan must take in order to ensure that its espoused views on equality and social justice are not mere words, but are put into action
         There is no doubt that Yost was at the center of this historical debacle and must take the brunt of the responsibility for it. He knew the implications when he scheduled the game with Georgia Tech, but chose to ignore them. The racism of his actions and likely results of his actions were made known to him by the Detroit African-American community and many students as he was making these decisions. Yost may have been a skilled coach and administrator, gathering funds, expanding the athletic department and building athletic facilities, but when given the opportunity to excel as a human being, he failed miserably. And doesn’t that fly in the face of the reason we accept the enormous amount of money and acclaim given to university athletics…that they build character and make students into better people?  
         But Yost’s personal failures are not the only reason his name needs to be removed from the building. Both in 1934 and today, the University of Michigan prides itself on its liberal image, officially welcoming students of color in the 30’s and promoting itself as a model of diversity today. But the University must be called to  account not just for what it says, but what it does. Good intentions are not enough. During the humiliation of Willis Ward, the University failed in its responsibilities to act on its principles.   If the University keeps the Yost name on the building, it will have restated that Yost’s athletic accomplishments and the University’s athletic pride are more important than its failures in upholding its stated goals of inclusion, justice, and equality. In the end, it comes down to asking, exactly what does the University of Michigan stand for?
         I would like to see the University remove Fielding Yost’s name from the Ice Arena building. I would also like to see an exhibit placed inside the building that will educate the public on the Willis Ward incident in 1934, and explain the reasoning behind the renaming of the building.

  31. Martin Amundson
    on May 26, 2021 at 11:46 am

    Allowing the cancel culture take over the University of Michigan’s proud history is sickening to me. Is there anyone in history who is perfect and without flaws? Let us erase the names of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. That will solve a lot to problems. I have just written an article on George Orwell for my community’s newsletter. What stood out was a quotation contained in a forward for Animal House which was not printed by the publisher because “it was controversial”. The forward was found in Orwell’s paper’s in 1971. Orwell wrote, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell all people what they do not want to hear”. I want the university to make me proud. Let ideas and discussion flourish here. Weigh the arguments and learn how to think and not
    just cancel what we don’t want to hear.

  32. Jeffrey Waterman
    on May 26, 2021 at 11:47 am

    Please do not remove the name “Yost” from the building. Thank you.

  33. Natasha Taylor
    on May 26, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    After reading the historical review and context to which the name change is under review, I support the name change to the fieldhouse and hockey arena. In matters of race, I feel that there’s this back and forth discussion about history which leads to exceptions being made because “that is the way it was at that time”. But for a moment, if you are not a member of the African-American community, can you empathize with us to understand how these actions are offensive? This wasn’t a case of a few racial slurs. There was active segregation on the football field and I can only imagine on campus. If I was a student during this time, I also would not have been allowed to stay in certain dorms and would have faced barriers based on my race alone to prevent me from getting an education at this prestigious institution. In order to move forward we must acknowledge our past, recognize the faults and right the wrongs. Now that we know history, what message are we sending to the student-athletes of color and in fact, all of the students regarding tolerance of racial issues? If we have zero tolerance for former prominent physicians who abused athletes then we can have the same zero tolerance for revered coaches who were know to be racist. Thank you for this historical review and opportunity for feed back.

  34. Suzanne Kilpela
    on May 26, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    Add my name to the opposition of removing the Yost name. Michigan has history and tradition. Erasing our history eliminates long-standing tradition. We continue to become a more perfect nation not by ignoring the past but by remembering, acknowledging and doing better in the future. As many others have said, it is unfair to use today’s standards to judge the past. Change does not require the elimination of history especially if you can use it has teaching and educational opportunities.

  35. Nikki Cischke
    on May 26, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    I totally support removing the Yost name from the ice arena, and I really can’t understand why anyone would be upset about removing the name of a man who, by the standards of his own time, was racist. This is an opportunity for the university to take a critical look at the people that have been celebrated in a very public manner via building dedications and make some necessary updates. Change isn’t a bad thing.

  36. Bruce Graham
    on May 26, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    It has been our custom to honor people for some of their accomplishments while overlooking serious flaws in their character and sense of the community to which they belong. A great university prides itself on the education of outstanding citizens who contribute to the overall improvement of the community at large. Had we done a better job in the last century we just might be further along in this one. It is never too late to recognize that mistakes have been made, but it is incumbent upon us to rectify them. I support the removal of Mr. Yost’s name from the building to which it is attached as a testament to our commitment to bring the university one step closer to one of it’s cherished ideals.

  37. Thomas Vance
    on May 26, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    Preface this by saying I am a 2021 grad from the College of LSA.

    Sick and damn tired of White people saying it’s okay to keep the name because racism was the standard back then. What in the literal fuck.

    We should remove Yost’s name from the ice hockey arena. This isn’t about cancel culture. This is about creating inclusive environments. This report has established that Yost was an active participant in segregation. With that knowledge, why would the University keep the name of an active participant in segregation on a building? Where Black students ice skate during the winter months. Where Black students living off-campus pass on their commute to and from class. Actively participating in segregation is not a mere flaw or a mistake — it is one wielding their power to reinforce a hierarchy where White folks are superior to Black folks.

    Students and their parents shouldn’t have to suck it up or get used to it — especially since they pay tuition!

  38. J Michael Moore
    on May 26, 2021 at 3:23 pm

    I do not support removing the Yost name. As a member of the Michigan Marching Band from 1956 to 1961 we received an orientation from William D Revelli (fabled leader of Michigan Bands) on Michigan culture and spirit of excellence. Fielding H Yost was presented as a corner stone of Michigan athletics and by association the Michigan Band. He built the foundation on which our athletic programs were built and have served generations of students, faculty and alumni. He deserves to have his name on the Fieldhouse that he constructed. I would like to quote from Marc Anthony’s funeral speech for Julius Caesar made over 2000 years ago: “the evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Caesar”. So let it not be with Yost. — J. Michael Moore, 67 PhD

  39. Lexi Nelson
    on May 26, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    Yost’s name should not be removed from the ice arena but rather make the information about what happened more well known. Removing the name is tarnishing the reputation of a dead man for doing something that was unfortunately relatively commonplace back then. I do not find it fair to judge someone on their actions based on the current societal beliefs because we have changed and things that were moral then may be seen as immoral now. What we are doing now may be seen as immoral in the future and I would not want to be judged for doing things that everyone is doing just because my name is remembered and other names are not. The only thing that will be accomplished by removing the name is make everyone forget entirely about the whole scenario which is more of hiding what happened to me then keeping the name and sharing the story when discussing the ice arena/having it posted around the arena for people to read about. It should still be acknowledged that what he did was wrong but use it to show the progress we have made as a society since that time frame.

  40. William Kohler
    on May 27, 2021 at 8:28 am

    My opinion is that Yost Arena should be torn down and replaced. The University deserves modern buildings that show the progressiveness of the university community. Keeping old buildings shows a community that clings to the past rather than living in the present or coming future.
    It is very unfortunate that the regents do not have the foresight to dispose of this problem without making it a divisive issue, I guess it is a sign of the times, or maybe publicity was desired.
    Certainly a fundraising could have been conducted to replace some of the athletic facilities (Crisler is very small for the Big10).

  41. Jacquelyn Miller
    on May 27, 2021 at 9:43 am

    The recommendation to remove the name should be followed. There is no justification not to remove the name. To keep the name after Yost’s avowedly racist views are widely publicized would express utmost disregard for all Black and Brown people, and would be offensive to any anti-racist person. In this day and age, there are only two choices: to be racist or anti-racist. As long as the name remains, the university is actively perpetuating racism.

  42. Barbara Garavaglia
    on May 27, 2021 at 10:15 am

    I oppose the removal of Fielding H. Yost’s name from the arena. He was imperfect, but a detailed forensic examination of all those for whom UM buildings have been named would undoubtedly find similarly poor and ill considered decisions made during their eras.

    If this name is removed I suggest that the university go further and simply strip all individual names from buildings, rooms, etc. on campus & instead use entirely neutral building identifiers, perhaps numbers.

  43. Steve Ghannam
    on May 27, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” as the saying goes. I am generally appalled with the self righteousness taking place amongst the Left of today (of which I include myself). A person makes a mistake at one point in their life and they are to be condemned forever? I don’t believe Yost was a complete racist throughout his life. He, along with most Americans, learned and became aware of the lack of minority rights through teachable moments over time. Make this a teachable moment. We can honor both Willis Ward and honor Yost for different reasons.

  44. Joseph Jackowski
    on May 27, 2021 at 8:28 pm

    From the Bhagavad Gita: “In battle, in forest, at the precipice of the mountains, on the dark great sea, in the midsts of javelins and arrows, in sleep, in confusion, in the depths of shame, the good deeds a man has done before defend him.”

    I do not believe the name should be removed. Yost, for better or worst, is a part of Michigan’s history. He is celebrated, we must note, not for the terrible things he did by today’s standards, but for his successes, his “good deeds.” No man or woman can be expected to live by the moral standard of an age they did not live to see.

    Maintain the name so that we may understand how far we’ve come, both as athletes and moral agents.

  45. Lukas Stauffer
    on May 28, 2021 at 9:06 am

    I strongly OPPOSE the removal of Fielding H. Yost’s name from the Ice Arena. As a UM student, who has read countless documents on this issue, and taken two classes related to understanding inequality in sport, I have come to understand one critical key. That key is that we all have the agency to change our beliefs and values as we experience more in life.

    The fact that Fielding was the son of a Confederate soldier whom never lived a day in his life where it was legal for African-Americans to vote, yet he allowed Willis Ward to be on the team, when (for almost all sports in America) African-Americans were not allowed to play with Whites at all.

    Yes, no doubt that Yost had some serious flaws in his beliefs and judgment regarding African-Americans. However, he like all the rest of us in life made mistakes. None of us are perfect humans. For all we know, we may believe things now that seem right and just, but that are deemed by humanity to be bigoted 100+ years from now. Besides, the dramatic tone of the recommendation proves that this report is simply an superfluous attempt to purge this University of all its racist past (a task that is impossible and a waste of time that could be better used to support all lives through humble service). By no means is having the building named after Yost, celebrating racism. That claim is abhorrent.

    All I ask is that when a final decision is made, we all look ourselves deep in the heart and realize that none of us are perfect and we should not judge other based on their worst decisions, but rather the holistic effort they made on the world they lived in.

  46. Patricia Delamielleure
    on May 28, 2021 at 11:36 am

    No! Do not remove Host’s name. The positive contributions he made to the University outweigh the perceptions of the time period. Going down the proposed path does nothing to change what happened then or influence what happens now. Let’s move on!

  47. Brien O’Meara
    on May 28, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    I do not support renaming Yost Ice Arena.

    Fielding H. Yost is a giant in UM history that cannot be ignored. He was also a deeply flawed man, judged not only by today but also when judged by the standards of his own time. However, his racist and bigoted views were widely held, and many within leadership supported Yost’s wrongful actions.

    The UM community is obviously deeply divided over this issue. I fear that renaming Yost will create additional division rather than healing. A similar discussion is underway in regards to Dr. Robert Anderson and the many UM leaders that failed to act in that situation over a prolonged period of time. Both discussions are necessary and represent tragic periods for the UM community.

    As suggested by the Commission and many in the community, let us use this opportunity to bring awareness and educate, especially within Yost Ice Arena. Wholly embrace the struggle of those times and link them to the ongoing struggles of today. Commemorate the person and story of Willis Ward as one example of the obstacles black students need to overcome, continuing to the present time. Provide statistics on the progress that had been made with black student representation only to experience significant decline in more recent years. Explain the University’s efforts and challenges in improving these results.

    Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Let us use this opportunity to shed light on a dark period lest we forget its painful lessons.

  48. Joshua Moody
    on May 28, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    While I understand the purpose and goal of this committee I personally would prefer that the name not be changed. Many of my best memories as a student at U of M took place within the walls of the Yost Ice Arena, and to me, it will always be remembered by that name. This doesn’t excuse the history of Fielding Yost. Personally, I rarely think of the man when I think of the place. To me, the name has become the place and is no longer Mr. Yost’s to claim. It is synonymous with the Michigan hockey experience and for that reason alone I would prefer it remains that way. However, it would be nice to see the CoY switch the pregame canvas to Red’s likeness.

  49. Lynne Cole
    on May 30, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    The idea that those who came before us should have had the foresight to know what future generations would deem appropriate is preposterous. Our past is our past; we cannot erase it and we should never try. We must learn from our past. We must acknowledge that times have changed and many actions and attitudes of the past are no longer acceptable. Yost was a product of the time in which he lived, and like all humans, he was imperfect. However, he made significant contributions to the University. I do not support removing his name.

  50. David Moler
    on May 31, 2021 at 4:48 am

    Fielding Yost, as much as anyone, shaped the University of Michigan into the institution it is today. He strove to make Michigan the ‘leaders and best’ in football and later in all aspects of athletics. 100 years later, Yost is by far the best-remembered of any early Michigan figure.

    Yost’s racism was typical for his time. Though, because of his prominent position, his racism was vital to the exclusionary and inhumane treatment of Black athletes and prospective athletes. Though Yost was motivated by ‘glory’ for Michigan, upholding racist policies was self-defeating both in his time and in hindsight. It appears he was also motivated by the ‘glory’ of Fielding Yost since his actions led to 3 students who challenged him being expelled.

    As our University community grapples with our institution’s history, we are not passing judgement on people like Fielding Yost. Rather, we are choosing how to represent our history going forward. Yost, good contributions and bad, are part of our history. We should find a place on campus to remember his legacy – great and sordid. That place should NOT be the name of the ice arena. In 1934,Yost was presented with a choice between the dignity of people of color and tradition; let’s make a better choice than he did. Let’s strive to be leaders and best.

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