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Should Flannery O'Connor Be the Name of Residence Hall?

August 10, 2020
 
 

Loyola University Maryland is being criticized for removing the name of Flannery O'Connor from a residence hall. The Rev. Brian F. Linnane, president of the university, wrote that "[i]nformation coming forward recently about O'Connor, a Catholic American writer of the 20th century, has revealed that some of her personal writings reflected a racist perspective. The building names we use at Loyola should declare to our students -- and entire community -- what sort of values we esteem and hope to instill in our graduates. A residence hall must be a home and a haven for those who live there, and its name should reflect Loyola’s Jesuit values."

The comments on O'Connor's writings do not involve anything she published.

But Angela Alaimo O'Donnell, a former Loyola professor who currently serves as the associate director of the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University, told the Catholic News Service that "Over the course of her career, O'Connor became more bold and more outspoken in her opposition to the 'inburnt beliefs' of her fellow Southerners and Americans." Said O'Donnell: "I find it ironic that her name would be removed from a Catholic, Jesuit university. … She lays claim to America's original sin of racism, seeks atonement, and she atones."

 

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