Former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas is suing Middlebury College for changing the name of its on-campus chapel, according to the Rutland Herald.
Like Douglas himself, Dr. John Mead was both a Vermont governor and a Middlebury graduate. He paid for the chapel’s construction in 1914 on the condition that it bear his family’s name as the Mead Memorial Chapel. Middlebury stripped the Mead name from the building in September 2021 for what school officials said was Dr. Mead’s role in promoting the eugenics movement. The structure is now officially named the Middlebury Chapel.
The newspaper reports that Gov. Douglas calls the school’s position a misrepresentation of Dr. Mead’s record and a symptom of cancel culture. In court documents filed Friday, he also asserts that the chapel is named not for Dr. Mead himself, but for Dr. Mead’s ancestors.
The University of Vermont stripped former school president Guy Bailey’s name from what’s now the David Howe Memorial Library in October 2018 because of Bailey’s support for eugenics.