After charges of racial insensitivity on social media, the Roger T. White – Pride Fitness Room at Meyer Middle School in River Falls, Wis., has had a name change.
The privately funded $100,000 refurbished fitness room is now known as the Roger T. White Wildcat Fitness Room, according to media reports.
The idea behind the fundraising project was to “build pride” in the school by refurbishing the fitness facility, which had 20-year-old equipment. (The fundraising website, buildpridefitness.org, is no longer in operation.) White, a member of the River Falls High School class of 1949 and a University of Wisconsin Law School graduate, donated $15,000 to the project and secured naming rights, Minneapolis-St. Paul TV station FOX 9 reported.
Apparently, the River Falls School Board did not take into consideration how “White” and “Pride” used together— even separated by a hyphen — might be construed as being offensive, and some people shared their disapproval on Facebook. The school district said the name of the fitness room was changed “to prevent any future misunderstanding.”
“The River Falls School District has a demonstrated commitment to character education and takes seriously the responsibility to be inclusive and respectful of all people and groups of people,” according to a press release reported by FOX 9. “Any suggestion of racism, discrimination, or cultural insensitivity in the fitness room’s title was wholly inadvertent.”