Fresno State forming task force to review renaming of Henry Madden Library as anti-Semitic remarks come to light

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Fresno State University is taking action to address the possible renaming of its library, Henry Madden Library, after recent revelations that the person for which the library was named after held antisemitic views.

University administrators are now creating a task force to address the issue.

The purpose is to collect information for the next steps in the process about whether the naming of the library aligns with the university’s values.

It will be made up of a diverse and inclusive set of people that include faculty, students, and community members.

Since 1981, the Fresno State University library has carried the name Henry Madden, serving a diverse group of people, but that could change.

In a recent letter to students, the university says it was made aware “Henry Madden held deeply antisemitic views and Nazi sympathies,” prompting officials to take action.

“When something’s out there, that runs contrary to those values, that’s a matter of serious concern,” says Michael Lukens.

Lukens is the man spearheading the task force commissioned by the president of Fresno State, he says the task is not something they are taking lightly and will be one that will require extensive research.

“We’re going to do our due diligence and go through the information that we have available to us and then do what’s right for the university,” says Lukens.

Fresno State students expressed how a change could be necessary.

“Changing the name of the library would allow one to feel more connected to it and not feel separated with the ties that henry madden had,” says Mary Topoozian, a student at Fresno State.

The university says it’s committed to “create an inclusive community remains essential.”

Rabbi Rick Winer is one of the many members who will be part of the task force. As a member of the Jewish community and faith, we asked him what the significance a library name change will have.

“This is about all those who have been subject to extreme hatred and whether or not we should be continuing to honor those who have done that,” says Rabbi Winer.

The task force will be meeting on Wednesday for the first time to kickstart discussions about this topic.

They say it could take weeks or months to come up with the next step in this process.

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