The board of trustees has approved a new name for the Carlsen Center. Instead of the Carlsen Center, the building will now be known as the Midwest Trust Center. This change is due in large part to former editor in chief of the Campus Ledger, Samantha Joslin, learning about the sexual harassment allegations against former JCCC President Charles Carlsen. Johnson wrote to the board of trustees to get the name changed this past spring, as well as writing an article for The Ledger about the allegations and why the name should be changed. She also implored other students and faculty to write to the board after all this effort. How does she feel now that the name has actually been changed.
(Joslin) “I feel so happy. It was almost like an inciting sort of thing where now I have never wanted to keep doing things more now than when I heard that the name would be changed. Like that was such a push to be like now that that chapter is sort of closed, like, what can I start doing now to make another change, to continue to just like dismantle this culture that I feel like we have in the United States, where sexual harassment and assault is not thought of as that big of a deal. And I think to individuals, it sort of is a big deal. But when it’s something like there has been an accusation by several people, multiple women, and that allegation isn’t seen as serious enough to, like, take your name off of the building or to ruin your reputation, like, why do you still get to keep your reputation intact when you are being accused of such awful things? I think it shows also how well the board of trustees listens to students and how also I think sometimes they need students to come forward in order to act, because many of them right off the bat were agreeing with me and saying, like, definitely that name needs to be changed. But I think sometimes they need that extra push from a student to actually, like, start the conversation, because I think a lot of times they might be hesitant too.”
There have been previous attempts to rename the Carlsen Center. So why did this one succeed? Board member Angeliina Lawson offered an explanation.
(Lawson) “I know that there has been a lot of people coming forward over time that are not OK with how that went in the history, the involvement of the people that were impacted at that time and the decisions that were made that has left current faculty that were also a part of those allegations and alleged allegations they were still on campus. And I think the people around them and also the build up of the idea that, well, people don’t know that, you know, this name is affiliated to some history. Well, they do. And it hasn’t gone away.”
Where do we go from here now that the push for the removal of Carlsen’s name is over?
(Joslin) “I think people think the board of trustees changed the name and that was that. And I think I would hope that people would become educated on the reason why it changed and hopefully take that time to educate themselves on why it was important that it did change. I’m glad that they decided that it was worth taking his name off the building, just sort of for the statement for our school that we take those things seriously.”
For The Campus Ledger, I’m Landen Fields.