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UC Board of Trustees votes to remove Marge Schott's name from stadium, school

From The Vault: Rise and fall of Marge Schott
Posted at 6:40 AM, Jun 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 20:23:38-04

CINCINNATI — The University of Cincinnati's Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday morning to remove Marge Schott's name from the university's baseball stadium and another space in the school's archive library immediately.

"Marge Schott’s record of racism and bigotry stands at stark odds with our University’s core commitment to dignity, equity and inclusion," UC president Neville Pinto said. "I hope this action serves as an enduring reminder that we cannot remain silent or indifferent when it comes to prejudice, hate or inequity. More than ever, our world needs us to convert our values into real and lasting action.”

The board wrote in their resolution that they stand with Pinto to fight inequality.

"The change we want to see starts with us," the board wrote.

The UC baseball stadium was constructed in 2004 and the facility was named Marge Schott Stadium in the spring of 2006 after the Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation made a $2 million gift to the Richard E. Lindner Varsity Village.

A petition was started online by former UC baseball player Jordan Ramey to rename the stadium due to Schott's many racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic remarks she made while she owned the Cincinnati Reds between 1984 and 1999.

Ramey learned of the board's unanimous decision Tuesday morning on social media.

"It's great news," Ramey told WCPO. "You can see where coming together all races – black, white, everybody, all backgrounds – what community together can do for a community in a short notice. So this is a testament to that."

UC athletic director John Cunningham told Ramey last week that there was momentum for the change.

"I had a good feeling about it," Ramey said. "You don't have to be a big name to make change, and that's huge."

UC senior pitcher Nathan Moore was instrumental in helping Ramey with the petition. Dr. Pinto called Moore Tuesday morning to deliver the news after the board's vote.

"Very overjoyed, really," Moore told WCPO. "It's a great feeling just to know the Cincinnati community, the school, our board wants to move everything in the right direction. And I think everybody is on the same page with that. To see this happening is amazing."

UC baseball coach Scott Googins said he supported Moore, Ramey and the other players who helped with the petition.

"I'm happy for Nate Moore and bringing this to light and the change that happened," Googins said. "I'm just supporting those guys. Obviously, it's progress. I'd say that. We're making some good changes and it's progress."

WCPO previously reported that a Reds employee said Schott used racial slurs to refer to black Reds players; her marketing director said she called him a "beady-eyed Jew," and at one point, she said Adolf Hitler had been a good leader before World War II.

"Just imagine how a Black student might feel walking past that, knowing that her amount of money in donation made it OK for her name to be commemorated on a building here," Moore said.

Moore, who is from Columbus and attended Bishop Hartley High School, said Tuesday morning he learned a lot of information about Schott, Cincinnati in having dialogue with others in the past month.

"Nate uses his platform and, being a student-athlete here at UC, voices his opinion and people listened," Googins said. "I think he did it the right way and respectful."

Moore was very happy with the result Tuesday morning.

"I learned that peaceful conversation, engaging people in an even-keeled way," Moore said. "I wasn't trying to press anybody's buttons or push anybody the wrong way, but I just really wanted to create conversation with our school leaders and to see what could come of this and I knew the right thing would."

Ramey's petition received national attention regarding the stadium name.

"This is such a touchy topic people don't talk about which we should as a community," Ramey said. "This is a very important topic that people gloss over. It's very important for us to realize how fast this did happen. That all it did was coming together, unity and somebody asking for change."

Ramey said Tuesday's vote wasn't a celebration per se, but it has brought awareness quickly and is an indicator for the direction of the country.

"As an athlete for me personally, as an athlete going through UC, it was conflicting to play under that name," Ramey said. "It was. I'm going to put my all out and my teammates are going to put their all out – we're brothers – but at the end of the day that's a conflicting situation to be put in as a Black athlete at the university. I don't want that to happen for anybody else coming into the next generation."

The Marge and Charles Schott Foundation previously made a statement about the petition.

"We can ask you to learn from Mrs. Schott's mistakes as well as her great love for Cincinnati," a statement from the Schott Foundation reads. "We fully support the decisions made by the organizations who have received grants from the Foundation."

St. Ursula Academy decided previously to remove Schott's name from two of their campus facilities: a stadium and a school building.

There was no immediate word from UC when the exterior letters of the stadium name will be removed. There is also a plaque at the stadium.

Ramey doesn't have a preference for the new name of the stadium. He's just glad the community will help determine its direction.

"Alumni Field is what they are throwing around right now," Ramey said. "So Alumni Stadium, that would be cool. We'll see where that goes, but I'm glad that we got to where we're at today."