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‘Mormon Land’: BYU activists discuss why the Smoot Building needs a new name and how the school can help heal racial wounds

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Statue of Brigham Young, in front of the Abraham O. Smoot Administration Building, on the BYU campus in Provo in 2018. Some students are calling for the Smoot Building to be renamed.

Amid the nation’s reawakening on the issue of systemic racism, Brigham Young University’s president has conceded that “there is work to do” on the Provo campus.

Many students and alumni agree, and some of them have called on officials to rebrand the administration building, given that it bears the name of Abraham O. Smoot, a former benefactor who owned slaves.

On this week’s “Mormon Land” podcast, two of the activists behind this effort, Tristan Quist and Cole Stewart-Johnson, discuss why they are targeting the Smoot Building and how a name change may help make the university a more welcoming place for all. They also share their views about the monikers on other BYU buildings, some of which are named after past leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and about the school’s name itself.

Listen here:


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