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UVM's Library Dropped 'Bailey' From Its Name. Here's Why

The entrance to UVM's library in April 2016 prominently features the name of Guy Bailey. Last month the university's board of trustees approved a change dropping Bailey's name.
UVM Libraries
The entrance to UVM's library in April 2016 prominently features the name of Guy Bailey. Last month the university's board of trustees approved a change dropping Bailey's name.

As the 13th president of the University of Vermont, Guy Bailey expanded the campus, constructed new buildings and led the school through the Great Depression. For decades his name adorned the university library, the Guy W. Bailey/David W. Howe Memorial Library, often called simply the Bailey/Howe Library.

But Bailey was also a proponent of eugenics. That legacy inspired students and faculty to push to drop his name from the library. Last month, the university’s board of trustees did just that, changing its name to the David W. Howe Memorial Library

Eugenics was a debunked pseudo-science focused on genetics which sought to eliminate “undesirable” genes. Vermont's eugenics programs led to the targeted sterilizations of mostly poor women, as well as darker-skinned French-Canadians and Native Americans.

Ron Lumbra, vice-chair of UVM's board of trustees and chair of the Renaming Advisory Committee, joins Vermont Edition to discuss how and why the board decided to remove Bailey's name and the process now in place to consider future name changes. 

Broadcast live on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.
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