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Union Council will hold open forums on Porter Butts Gallery, Fredric March Play Circle

Posted: 07/06/18

Union Council, the governing body of the Wisconsin Union, will host open forums July 11 and 12 at Memorial Union regarding the names of two spaces in Memorial Union, called the Porter Butts Gallery and the Fredric March Play Circle.

The Council will hold the July 11 forum in the Capitol View Room noon to 1 p.m. The July 12 forum will be held 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Old Madison East. Both forums are open to the public. To ensure Council members hear from a variety of voices within each timeframe, each person who wishes to speak will be given three minutes.

This effort is in response to a recent campus study group report and to concerns expressed by some members of the campus community regarding the individuals for whom these spaces are named, Porter Butts and Fredric March, participating in a former student organization called the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s while they were University of Wisconsin-Madison students. The Council is considering whether the names should be removed.

Each forum will include an update from Union Council on their decision-making effort, which will be followed by time to hear from members of the community. Council members will take the feedback from the forums into consideration in their decision.

“We are actively seeking out feedback from our community on these names,” said Susan Dibbell, Wisconsin Union deputy director and Union Council member. “We want to hear what people are feeling, information they would like to share, and their thoughts.”

Feedback can also be sent to or submitted online at

Individuals requesting sign language interpretation or captioning should contact the Wisconsin Union team by 5 p.m. Monday, at 608-262-8862 or

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