TU law school: Building name has ties to KKK

Posted at 7:36 PM, May 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-03 07:02:41-04

A Tulsa law school building, named after a prestigious school developer, is causing some controversy after learning its name has ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

The building in question is named after the late John Rogers, a pioneer Tulsa attorney and trustee of Tulsa University.

Currently the building stands with his name to honor his development of the law school, however, it's the burden of his past that could change the building's name forever. A recent history search links Rogers back to the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. Once that became public, TU decided to act, stating, "after intensive study and thoughtful deliberation, the University of Tulsa administration has made recommendation to the executive committee of the board of trustees."

"I think it's kind of ridiculous to be trying to erase a part of the past that we can't change," Ray Penny, a TU law student said.

But change is what is in question, as TU trustees mull over the decision to take down the name of John Rogers from the university's college of law.

The recommendation will be discussed on May 4. Until then the university said it will not comment on the matter.
However, after speaking to former law graduates and current students, 2 Works for You reporter Cori Duke found people were either unaware of Rogers’ KKK affiliation, or that it didn't bother them.

Students said having Rogers name on the building doesn't affect their education. In fact, they said if anything, his name is instrumental to the school.

Rogers has funded TU for decades and continues to do so through a trust fund, providing many students with scholarships.

"I think it's silly to say that we are going to take the name off of the building when we are probably going to continue to receive funds from the Rogers family," Penny said.

"I think if we started taking down names off of buildings that had people who weren't perfect on them, we wouldn't have any buildings named after anyone," P.J. Shyers, a Tulsa Law student said.

Sources said Rogers left the KKK in 1922 when he decided to turn his life around. He went on to be the first dean of the college to quietly integrate the school.

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