F.M. Bralley’s name will no longer be attached to a building on the Texas Woman’s University Denton campus following a unanimous Board of Regents vote Friday afternoon.
Bralley was president of Denton’s College of Industrial Arts, a TWU precursor. The Bralley Annex will now be known simply as the Support Annex.
Chancellor Carine Feyten described Bralley as an architect over the forced relocation of Black locals from the area that now holds Quakertown Park. A racist bond proposal was issued that raised funds to buy the residents’ homes at insultingly low prices.
The relocation effort was also spearheaded by Denton’s United Daughters of the Confederacy leading the City Federation of Women’s Clubs. The group was also in charge of the installation of the now-removed Confederate monument on the Denton Square.
Feyten’s chief of staff Christopher Johnson read a portion of the bond proposal Bralley made before the Chamber of Commerce: “The park bond issue would rid the college of the menace of the Negro quarters in close proximity to the college and thereby remove the danger that is always present.”
Feyten called Bralley “part of a very sad history of TWU and Denton.”
Feyten said a committee was formed in 2017 that advised they name the building in honor of Quakertown. She said numerous talks with students and faculty members brought them to pick a utilitarian name for the building, which she said probably will eventually be torn down.
Regent Carlos Gallardo made clear he was uncomfortable with the proposed name change before eventually voting in its favor.
“It seems like this whole country has gotten into a wave of political correctness,” he said Friday. “We seem to want to remove names, statues or individuals that at one time were considered to be offensive.”
He specifically mentioned the removal of statues honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee as a removal of history.
If Bralley “were alive today and spouting that vitriol, I would say, ‘Run him out of town,’” he qualified.
Regent Teresa Doggett said she, as well, had mixed feelings about removing pieces of the country’s history. Despite that, she said it would reflect poorly on the university if they kept Bralley’s name in a place of honor.
She hinted the name Quakertown would be applied to a more robust project to be discussed at the following Board of Regents meeting.
How did students feel about TWU’s pandemic response?
Roughly 80% of TWU students this past spring responding to a survey said they were moderately or extremely in favor of the university’s response to the ongoing pandemic.
Mike Hamner, vice provost for institutional research and improvement, presented the survey results during Friday’s regents meeting. He said the students contacted for the survey constitute roughly 90% of students in the coming fall semester, making them a pivotal group to gauge.
Approximately 21% of the roughly 12,000 students contacted responded. They were surveyed in July after Regent Gallardo suggested it during the previous board meeting.
Students listed online instruction, as well as physical, mental and emotional health, as some of their biggest concerns during the pandemic.
Overall, just over 50% of students reported they were at least somewhat in favor of the university’s effectiveness in a transition to online learning.
More than 60% said they were less motivated by online learning.
The same survey was conducted across the country, and TWU outperformed a benchmark of other four-year universities across many subject areas, according to the presentation.