Towards the end of the 2022 fall semester, a student-run organization named “Students Against Schmucker” was formed. The goal of the organization was to remove the title of the Schmucker Science Center.
Dr. Samuel Schmucker was a professor at West Chester University back in the 1900s. Samuel Schmucker was a known pro-eugenicist, who published numerous articles supporting the eradication of both disabled (forced labor camps) and biracial people. He was also an extremely sexist individual. The group would like the building to be renamed after someone who represents WCU’s current values.
“We want his name removed because his ideas are extreme and hateful, and don’t represent the diverse student body we have (and celebrate) on campus today,” said Mara Gross, a member of the organization.
The organization was formed in an English 400 seminar class with Dr. Benjamin Kuebrich. Professor Kuebrich sparked the idea and lent the students a helping hand in forming the group. Around ten students are involved in the campaign, but the campaign has received a ton of support from WCU students, staff, WCU Democrats, and the Student Government Association.
“It was all by mutual agreement, and pretty much immediately everybody who wanted to get involved took initiative on their own individualized tasks,” said Gross.
The group first learned about Professor Schmucker’s comments from Aaron Stoyack’s article that was featured in The Quad. He was a very big help to the campaign as well. After the students learned about the comments, they felt. They did not have to go through a process to make the club possible. The club is not a fully recognized organization through WCU, they are completely independent and run by students.
Last semester, the organization held weekly meetings at least once or twice a week. When they were not holding meetings, they were working diligently on making/distributing flyers, creating posters for our informational booth and organizing all of their info and communication.
Not too long after the club was started, Ronnie Yeakal, a member of WCU Democrats, organized a petition for students to begin signing. As the petition gained more and more signatures, things really began to take off for the student-run organization.
“We had representatives come to a Council of Trustees meeting in November and had them speak on the issue, and they responded stating they intended to open an investigative panel,” said Gross.
Because this organization was formed in an English seminar class, the group has kind of been put on pause because many members of the organization have graduated or decided to stop working on the campaign since the fall semester ended. However, the club did receive some exciting news just last week.
At the most recent Town Hall meeting, an update on the Schmucker Science Center was revealed. President Fiorentino explained that the investigative panel had been formed, and they submitted a request for the removal of Schmucker’s name, which will likely be approved, and happen come the end of this semester. After lots of hard work and dedication, it looks like the Students Against Schmucker Organization is going to reach their goal.
Be sure to check out the Students Against Schmucker Instagram account to follow their journey and view updates as the semester goes on. Instagram: @studentsagainstschmucker
Jamie Simonds is a fourth-year media and culture major with minors in digital marketing and journalism. JS928049@wcupa.edu.