SUU removes Sen. Harry Reid’s name from building on campus

Posted at 9:58 PM, Aug 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-30 00:00:44-04

CEDAR CITY, Utah – Southern Utah University administrators have removed the name of U.S. Senator Harry Reid from their Center for Outdoor Engagement. It comes after a group of Cedar City residents petitioned the university to make the change.

SUU president Scott Wyatt said it’s something they’ve been considering for a while, but is in no way politically motivated.

The school approached Reid as an alumnus and asked to use his name on one of their student centers. But Wyatt said recently when they looked at the purpose of the outdoor center, Reid’s name didn’t quite fit.

“The Harry Reid Outdoor Engagement Center is a little confusing to the outdoor center and its patrons,” Wyatt said. “The Harry Reid center remains, it will become fully operational once it is fully funded.”

The lack of funding is one reason Iron County Commissioner Dave Miller said their group approached the university. They said Reid has done little to support SUU, and didn’t think he deserved a place, just because of his position.

“He just hasn’t done much for this community directly,” Miller said. “And if he does, great, we’ll embrace it, but right now there’s no correlation of why that would make sense.”

Senator Reid issued this statement about the removal of his name, saying:

“I was approached and asked to use my name and I was happy to, but there was no such agreement to have me raise funds for it. I'm not going to raise money to have my name placed on anything."

The irony of the situation is, Reid’s name on the center did raise funds. Miller and his group pledged $40,000 if the university would remove Reid’s name. Wyatt said that’s not something they would have considered.

“We have some distinguished alums, and he is one of them,” Wyatt said. “Very accomplished and distinguished person. And we’re grateful for his graciousness in letting us use his name.”

There’s no timeline on when the Harry Reid Center may come to exist, or what services it would provide.