McNeese to rename several campus streets

McNeese to rename several campus streets
McNeese State University (Source: KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Several campus streets at McNeese State University will soon be renamed.

The streets being changed are named for parishes in Southwest Louisiana, some of which are named for members of the Confederacy.

McNeese President Daryl Burckel announced the decision in a letter to students and staff.

“In 1965, McNeese named eight streets on its campus to reflect the parishes in the service area of the University,” Burckel wrote. “Given today’s environment, members of our McNeese family are reminded of a demeaning time in our history, more recently our Civil War era, by some of the names on those streets. In light of this, we have decided to rebrand those campus streets.”

Allen Parish is named for Henry Watkins Allen, former governor of Louisiana and a general in the Confederate army.

Beauregard Parish is named for P.G.T. Beauregard, a brigadier general in the Confederate army.

Jeff Davis Parish is named for Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy.

"Our black students need to know, hear and see that the McNeese community recognizes that BLACK LIVES MATTER," Burckel wrote. "This affirmation does not exclude the value we place on all other students, but when a segment of our community hurts, our collective responsibility is to respond to the members of our family that are hurting."

The streets will be renamed after distinguished McNeese alumni and will be renamed every seven years.


Read Dr. Burckel’s full letter below:

Dear McNeese Family,

Universities are, and should be, leaders in the communities they serve and stand as a source of truth to reflect what is good, noble and right for a strong society. We endeavor to educate, mentor and prepare our students to make a life, make a living and make a difference in their communities.

Our University is part of the fabric of our community and we are not unaffected, unmoved nor unresponsive to the societal turmoil caused by the unjust death of George Floyd.

Our black students need to know, hear and see that the McNeese community recognizes that BLACK LIVES MATTER. This affirmation does not exclude the value we place on all other students, but when a segment of our community hurts, our collective responsibility is to respond to the members of our family that are hurting.

In 1965, McNeese named eight streets on its campus to reflect the parishes in the service area of the University. Given today’s environment, members of our McNeese family are reminded of a demeaning time in our history, more recently our Civil War era, by some of the names on those streets. In light of this, we have decided to rebrand those campus streets.

With over 40,000 graduates since 1939, McNeese will rename those eight streets for distinguished McNeese alumni that have brought distinction to themselves, their communities and our University. The renaming will be inclusive of all members of the McNeese family. Our goal is to rename the streets every seven years to honor another deserving group of our distinguished graduates.

I have created four work groups headed by members of my Senior Staff. Collectively, they will contact students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and community stakeholders to gather names to be considered for these streets.

We will be working with our SGA leaders to plan an unveiling of the new streets as early in the fall as possible.

Stay Cowboy Strong and Geaux Pokes!

Sincerely,

Dr. Daryl V. Burckel

President

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