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Op-Ed: Strip the Klansman’s Name from Simkins Hall

The Horn, May 10, 2010

3 Pages Posted: 16 May 2010 Last revised: 14 Oct 2010

Thomas D. Russell

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Date Written: May 10, 2010


This Op-Ed is an open letter to UT-Austin President William Powers in which Professor Russell asks that President Powers remove the name of Klansman William Stewart Simkins from a dormitory on campus. Professor Russell provides details regarding Simkins's involvement in the Klan during Reconstruction as a mask-wearing night rider who admitted to violence against freed slaves. Professor Russell offers a legal argument for denaming the dorm, namely that the Faculty Council misrepresented Professor Simkins's past when they recommended his name for the dormitory.

Professor Russell wrote this op-ed after media controversy emerged concerning his paper ‘Keep the Negroes Out of Most Classes Where There Are a Large Number of Girls’: The Unseen Power of the Ku Klux Klan and Standardized Testing at The University of Texas, 1899-1999 (March 22, 2010). University of Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-14. Available at SSRN:

Keywords: KKK, Ku Klux Klan, William Stewart Simkins, William Powers, Bill Powers, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, reconciliation, legal history, Brown v. Board of Education, Sweatt v Painter, Tom Russell, Thomas Russell, University of Denver

Suggested Citation

Russell, Thomas D., Op-Ed: Strip the Klansman’s Name from Simkins Hall (May 10, 2010). The Horn, May 10, 2010 . Available at SSRN:

Thomas David Russell (Contact Author)

University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )

2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States
303-871-6224 (Phone)


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