Reconsider cancel-culture target at WWU

Consider two names associated with one of our state’s public universities, one a slave owner and the other an abolitionist. Which do you think might be canceled? You got it, the abolitionist.

As Western Washington University examines the names of its building and programs, it’s not George Washington, the slave owner, being reviewed. It’s the abolitionist Thomas Henry Huxley. Known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his public defense of the theory of evolution, Huxley was also an early humanist (he invented the word “agnostic”) and social reformer. WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment was named after him when it was founded in 1970 as the world’s first interdisciplinary environmental college.

Universities around the country are conducting such reviews. Princeton recently removed Woodrow Wilson’s name from its School of Public and International Affairs, citing his segregationist policies. Clemson and Yale both changed the name of colleges previously named after vice-president John C. Calhoun, a slave owner and white supremacist best known for his “positive good” theory of slavery.

Is it now time for T.H. Huxley’s name to go, too?