Call for Suggestions - Building and Theatre Name (Oct. 27, 2020)

To the Eastern Michigan University community:

The Daniel L. Quirk, Jr. Building has been the home of The School of Communication, Media & Theatre Arts (CMTA) since its construction in 1958. Quirk Building and Theatre were named in honor of Daniel L. Quirk Jr., a corporate and community leader and founder of the Ypsilanti Players.

In September, Ypsilanti historian and Eastern Michigan University alumnus Matthew Siegfried published evidence of Quirk’s leadership in the production and performance of Black Face Theatre in which white performers mocked and ridiculed African American culture while performing in blackface makeup. This is not consistent with the values of Eastern Michigan University and our faculty, staff, and students who reside in the building and perform in the theatre.

At my direction, a committee was formed to address the historical legacy of the Quirk Building and Quirk Theatre.  The committee -- comprised of CMTA emeritus faculty, faculty, staff, the CAS Dean, an EMU foundation representative, and a member of the Quirk family -- has recommended changing the name of the Building and Theatre to reflect CMTA’s culture of inclusivity, social justice, unity and commitment to giving voice to all. We are grateful to the committee members for their time and energy, and offer special thanks to the member of the Quirk family for their valuable insights.

We view this as an opportunity to reflect on how we live our mission and values going forward as a University. We challenge ourselves to continually face the injustices of oppression and to build a more accessible, inclusive and equitable campus culture that goes beyond the campus itself. 

We seek your suggestions for a Building name and a Theatre name that reflect, symbolize, and honor the actions and spirit of EMU and CMTA.Here is the link to the Google sheet to upload suggestions:

Suggestions will be collected until Wednesday, November 18, at 5:00 p.m. and reviewed by the committee which will make recommendations to my office. Please feel free to submit a name(s) and a rationale for your suggestion(s). A name suggestion could be an individual, concept, idea or a word(s) that reflect the values and activities of CMTA.

Thank you for your part in this process.

James Smith, Ph.D.