CSUSM faculty senate is correct: William Craven should not be honored at CSUSM


Kat Parra

The Academic Senate endorsed renaming Craven Hall due to the legislator’s controversial remarks toward the Hispanic community.

Natalie Navarro, Assistant Opinion Editor

The CSUSM Academic Senate voted to show their support of removing all campus associations with late California Legislator William Craven on April 7. This proposed motion would include renaming Craven Hall, Craven Circle and Craven Road, as well as removing a bust of Craven. 

The decision is ultimately up to President Neufeldt, who has appointed a special council to help investigate Craven before a decision on renaming is made. 

This vote by CSUSM faculty members should come as no surprise, as the late legislator has become controversial due to his prejudiced remarks concerning Hispanic immigrants. It seems right to remove a figure who is against inclusive ideals, as CSUSM is a school that has a significant number of minority students.

Although the decision to rename the building is favorable, it brings a question as to why Craven is an important figure at CSUSM to begin with. If he was so controversial, why praise his existence?

Truthfully, I asked myself this question because I was unaware of who Craven was until I heard the news. Since my physical experience on campus lasted a semester and a half, I was never interested in looking into CSUSM’s history. However, after researching Craven’s background, his connection to the school quickly made sense. 

According to The Los Angeles Times, Craven was a politician for 25 years in Southern California. One of his several accomplishments included serving as a State Senator and Craven’s crowning achievement…in the Legislature was the creation of Cal State San Marcos”  in 1989. 

In addition to the school, Craven served on several councils within San Diego County. Craven’s resume undoubtedly makes him an influential figure in the county’s history.

Understanding that CSUSM’s existence is due to the legislator’s power justifies why he became the face of the school. At the time, it would have seemed disrespectful to not honor his efforts. 

However, even though Craven is a part of CSUSM’s history, his comments and views should not be ignored for the sake of honor. Craven represents everything the school is against in terms of inclusion. 

All in all, I agree with the Academic Senate’s support of renaming campus properties named after Craven.

In its place, the school should rename the building after someone who actively fought for equality, especially one who is also attached to the school. Doing this shows that CSUSM truly cares about its students and faculty, no matter their background. It would signal that everyone is welcome and respected at the campus and that intolerance has no place there. 

Craven’s name should not be erased from CSUSM entirely, as acknowledging his impact is critical when discussing the school’s history. Prejudiced people are capable of doing good things; CSUSM just happens to be Craven’s good thing.

This does not mean that we should still idolize him, as his remarks caused harm to people of color in San Diego. I am Hispanic myself, so I am aware of how my community is perceived by those who are comfortable with their ignorance. Craven is not someone I would want to represent me, and I’m sure that anyone who also fights for equality would say the same.

Honors and memorabilia are reserved for people who have created a positive impact. However, when the honoree’s true colors are revealed, it can be difficult to respect their honor knowing that you are everything they are against. This rings true for the renaming situation and I commend the Academic Senate for dealing with it sincerely.    

Natalie Navarro is an Assistant Opinion Editor for The Cougar Chronicle. She is a sophomore at CSUSM as a literature and writing major, as well as a theatre minor. After graduating, Natalie plans to further her education and become a teacher. She loves to read and play with her dogs.