University of Wisconsin-Madison (opens in new window)

Named Spaces at Memorial Union

Union Council has recommended to UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank that the names of the Porter Butts Gallery and Fredric March Play Circle be changed. Union Council is the Wisconsin Union's governing board, made up of UW-Madison students, faculty, alumni and staff.

The decision was based on community feedback received through open forums, an online form, email, phone calls and Union Council meetings as well as research regarding these individuals membership as UW-Madison students in an honorary inter-fraternity council called the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. There is no evidence that this honorary student organization had any affiliation with the national Knights of Ku Klux Klan. 

The renaming of the Porter Butts Gallery and relocation of information regarding Butts’ professional legacy to a non-programming space was done at the request of members of his family. This was following testimony the Butts family heard on the issue from students and community members.

Please find background information on the process, press releases and additional information below.  

Wisconsin Union Statement on Union Council Decision: 8/7/18

Union Council Resolution: 4/25/18

Ad-Hoc Report to the Chancellor: 4/4/18

UW-Madison Press Release: Chancellor Creates Ad-Hoc Study Group: 8/21/17

Timeline: Porter Butts' Student Years at UW

FAQ: Porter Butts Gallery & Frederic March Play Circle

Open forums on Naming of Porter Butts Gallery and fredric March Play Circle

On July 11 & 12, 2018, we held open forums on the issue of naming the Porter Butts Gallery and Fredric March Play Circle. Union Council presented information and provided updates on decision making. A Q&A session directly followed the presentation.

Questions regarding the forums or naming can be directed to

View the video recordings of the forums:  

July 11

12pm - 1pm
Memorial Union 


July 12

5pm - 6:30pm
Memorial Union 



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