Undergraduate Student Government Senator Preston Fregia launched a petition on change.org Wednesday calling for a name change for the Von KleinSmid Center. By the time of publication, the petition garnered 127 signatures.According to the petition, the building’s namesake, former USC President Rufus Von KleinSmid, was known for his role in the eugenics movement. The movement advocated for “improving the human race through selective breeding” methods like sexual sterilization and extermination of select groups that were considered undesirable. The petition listed Von KleinSmid’s history working in the eugenics movement, which included co-founding the Human Better Foundation, a eugenics organization in Pasadena.“Some of his work inspired Nazis and was about how minorities should be weeded out of the population,” Fregia said. “And I think the kind of painful irony is me [going] to VKC everyday and [having] to sit through the … humiliating experience in a class where the guy who [the building] is named after didn’t think that your group or your race should exist on Earth.”Fregia said that Von KleinSmid’s past with the eugenics movement does not reflect the University’s modern values. He also noted how VKC is “supposed to represent all cultures and all groups.”On Wednesday, USG shared a link to Fregia’s petition on its Facebook page and supported the building’s name change.“The 5,500 lb. globe on top of VKC represents the density of globalization at USC, and the building’s 108 flags represent the cultural diversity of USC’s student population,” USG wrote in its Facebook post. “Dr. Von KleinSmid’s beliefs and actions were antonymous to the idea of cultural diversity.”The petition also said that several universities across the country are “beginning to recognize the significance of historical building names.” According to the petition, these buildings have been named after people who have maintained ties to slavery or groups like the Ku Klux Klan, and are currently in the process of getting renamed.“I think that a lot of this kind of dissent was like with the Confederate flag and Confederate monuments that caused recent debate for townspeople to say, ‘What are we exactly naming our monuments for? Do they reflect our modern values?’” Fregia said.Fregia said that before he plans to involve the administration, he hopes the petition will receive more traction as he believes many others at USC care about this issue.“There is no meeting or serious meeting with administration unless I can produce some type of data,” Fregia said. “Something that shows [that] this is what the student body wants. Even if I do that, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to take it seriously.”Following the petition’s release, the University did not respond to immediate request for comment by the Daily Trojan.
The Frenchman has responded to Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s recent comments, agreeing that more African and Asian teams should play in the competitionUefa president Michel Platini has suggested that the World Cup should be expanded to 40 teams to include more Asian and African representatives, starting from 2018 in Russia.Sepp Blatter has already stated that he wants more non-European teams at the World Cup and Platini agrees with the Fifa chief that it would be fruitful to have more African and Asian sides at the finals, although feels the best solution would be to expand the competition rather than to take away places from Europe.”I totally agree with Sepp Blatter that we need more African and Asian teams. It would be good for everybody,” Platini told The Times.”But instead of taking away some European spots, we have to expand to 40 teams. “For example, we can add two African, two Asian, two American, one Oceania and one from Europe.” Europe currently hold 13 of the 32 World Cup spots, whereas Africa have to settle for five places and Asia for four or five, depending on whether they qualify via a play-off against a South American team.The World Cup was expanded from 24 to 32 teams in 1998 after a previous expansion from 16 to 24 in 1982.