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Montana State–Billings’ First President Supported Eugenics

March 7, 2022

The chancellor of Montana State University at Billings, Stefani Hicswa, on Thursday announced the creation of a task force to study what to do about a building that is named for the university’s first president, who, she recently learned spoke out in favor 1935 for Adolf Hitler’s eugenics program.

“McMullen Hall is named after the first president of then Eastern Montana Normal School [the university's prior name], Lynn McMullen. A number of press accounts from 1935 quote McMullen espousing the now-discredited theory of eugenics. McMullen also suggested that Germany would advance faster than other nations due to Adolf Hitler’s embrace of eugenics,” Hicswa said. “This is very a serious issue, and the task force will investigate the issue further and provide a recommendation for the process to review the name of the administration building. A recommendation from the task force to rename the building would ultimately need to be brought before the Board of Regents for consideration.”

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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