UWindsor Renames Macdonald Hall


The University of Windsor has decided to rename Macdonald Hall.

Officials launched a review of the name in the fall of 2020 due to a petition from alumni and current students. On Friday, the university's Board of Governors announced the building would be called Residence Hall West moving forward.

The building on Huron Church Road's former namesake is Sir John A. Macdonald, who became Canada's first prime minister in 1864.

Professor in emeritus and board member Bruce Tucker says Macdonald helped found Canada, but his negative impact on ethnic, Indigenous, Métis and Inuit communities can't be ignored.

"There was a whole other story to the formation of modern Canada that's been largely hidden, although I think indigenous people and historians knew about it," he says. "We're trying to bring that piece out for people's consideration."

The retired history professor says Macdonald's actions were shared by most settlers in the 19th Century.

"He thought the way they did, that native people were incapable of education and change and they would just gradually die out," he says. "That's a fact from 19th Century history, we can't change it, but we can explain to people what the thinking was and locate him as an artifact of the past."

Tucker says a plaque will be erected acknowledging the name has been removed and why.

"History happened, it's in the past and we can't change what happened. So we're not changing history, but the way that history figures in peoples contemporary opinions, that's what we're addressing," he added.

The announcement comes after the bodies of 215 children were found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Colombia.