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Appeals court rules on Memorial Hall dispute

May. 4, 2005, 6:28 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ñ The Tennessee Court of Appeals handed down a ruling
in the United Daughters of the Confederacy‘s lawsuit regarding the
inscription on Confederate Memorial Hall, overturning a Davidson County
chancellor‘s 2003 ruling in Vanderbilt‘s favor.

In a 25-page decision on Tuesday, the Court of Appeals decided that the
contracts between Peabody College and the United Daughters of the
Confederacy were valid, despite the university‘s contention that they
had not been executed. As as result, the court said, the university was
obligated contractually to keep the inscription on the 70-year-old
building or provide financial compensation to the UDC.

“Vanderbilt continues to believe that we did the right thing for the
right reasons to address a decades-long controversy by changing the
name of ‘Confederate Memorial Hall,‘” said Michael Schoenfeld, vice
chancellor for public affairs. “Our right to do that was affirmed by
the Court. Reasonable people can disagree, and have, about
whether there was a contract between Peabody College and the UDC, and
if so, what that contract specified. Nonetheless, the court has
ruled and Vanderbilt will abide by the judgment regarding the
inscription on the faÁade of the building.”

Schoenfeld added that university officials are reviewing the decision
to determine the next steps in the case, which began in 2002 when the
name of the residence hall was changed. The current name of the
building ñ Memorial Hall ñ was not affected. “Memorial Hall” will
continue to be the term used in all Vanderbilt references to the
building, including publications, maps, websites and housing
assignments.

For more information on Memorial Hall, see http://www.vanderbilt.edu/news/memorialhall.

Media contact: Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS
jim.patterson@vanderbilt.edu

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