The Newsletter of the University of Hawai'i
Nov 7, 1997
Vol. 4 / No. 11
The Associated Students of the University of Hawai'i
last month passed a resolution calling for the renaming of Porteus
Hall on the Manoa campus. In their resolution (contact the ASUH
office in the UHM Campus Center for a complete text) the students
contend that the academic work of Professor Stanley D. Porteus
"was generally discriminatory in nature" and that a
building bearing his name is not in keeping with our institution's
focus on diversity.
Professor Porteus, who died two years before the
building was named in 1974, was internationally recognized for
his contributions to the field of psychology, especially for the
Porteus Maze Test that he devised to measure intelligence, and
fundamental contributions to clinical psychology.
What ASUH objects to is the theory he developed
of race differences based on genetic inheritance, from which he
drew social implications supporting the dominant beliefs of his
day concerning race and gender.
ASUH also proposes the building be given a Native
Hawaiian name "to advance the University's stated focus of
preserving the Native Hawaiian heritage."
The Board of Regents, which is authorized to name
or rename buildings based on recommendations from the administration,
upheld the Porteus Hall decision in 1975 after public hearings
generated strong and emotional testimony on both sides of the
question. A history of the debate appears in the book Building
I believe that we should follow through on the
ASUH proposal as expeditiously as possible. We need to review
the request to ensure that it conforms to board and University
policies and procedures, study the history of the naming of the
building and obtain as much input as possible from UHM students,
faculty, staff and administration, as well as external constituents
who may have an interest in the matter.
KENNETH P. MORTIMER
President, University of Hawai`i and
Chancellor, University of Hawai`i at Manoa
Mortimer, Kenneth P. "President's message." KuLama: The newsletter of the University of Hawai'i System 7 Nov 1997 v 4 n 11