The university will remove the name of James R. Slater from the museum.

TACOMA, Wash. — University of Puget Sound will remove the name of a former professor and proponent of eugenics from the college’s museum of natural history. On May 12, Puget Sound’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to approve President Isiaah Crawford’s recommendation to remove the name “Slater” from the Slater Museum of Natural History following a request from a student and subsequent review by a committee.

“Puget Sound’s commitment to diversity is inherently at odds with the concept of eugenics on a fundamental level. A public commemoration of an individual with a decades’ long commitment to these beliefs implies a reverence that is misaligned with the mission, vision, and values of the institution.” said Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity Lorna Hernandez Jarvis, who co-chaired the Slater Museum Review Committee.

The museum, which houses one of the Pacific Northwest’s significant natural history collections, with over 100,000 bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian, plant, insect, and geological specimens, was named the Slater Museum of Natural History in 1979 in honor of James R. Slater, a professor of biology who taught at the university from 1919 to 1951. The removal of Slater’s name comes after concerns about his background were brought to the university’s attention by a student researcher, Grace Eberhardt ’20. Eberhardt, a biology and African American studies double major, submitted her research paper to the Office of the President in the Fall of 2021 and requested that Slater’s name be removed.