ROTC leaders and university administration have met to discuss BYUSA’s recent proposal to relocate Memorial Hall from its current position on the east side of the Wilkinson Student Center to a multipurpose room nearby.
The proposed relocation sparked concern among ROTC members and alumni who feared moving the Hall into a multipurpose room would disrupt the reverence and respect owed to fallen BYU veterans whose names are on the walls.
Since the initial discovery of the relocation proposal, Lt. Col. Chip Cook, Maj. Ben Snell and Veterans Club president John Rhoden have voiced their concerns to the university.
“We were approached for feedback by the BYUSA and faculty advisors and had a couple meetings with them,” Cook said. “We talked to folks at the vice president level of the university, and they’re supportive of the concerns that the alumni and veterans have voiced in the last couple days.”
Cook said this has shown the university administration’s dedication to supporting the ROTC program and alumni.
“While an initial conversation may not have been viewed favorably, the senior administration understands and supports the ROTC and alumni, particularly those names on the wall,” Cook said.
University spokesperson Carri Jenkins said the considered relocation of Memorial Hall is part of a larger discussion regarding student use of the Wilkinson Student Center.
“The Memorial Wall is an important part of our campus and carries deep meaning for many in our community,” Jenkins said in an email. “The spaces that have been proposed are open and accessible to the public and the entire campus community. In fact, the proposed spaces would allow more exposure to the Memorial Wall honoring our fallen soldiers.”
One question that came up was how the current space would be used under the proposed plan. BYUSA leaders conducted surveys and found students want a place where they can go for meditative purposes.
“The room where the Memorial Wall is now located is one space under consideration where students could go to for silent meditation,” Jenkins said. “However, no decisions have been made, and discussions are ongoing.”
Shaylee Watkins is one of the individuals who started an online petition to preserve the Hall in its current location.
Watkins said in an email she loves BYU and “hopes this action is seen as students exercising their right to have their voices be heard.”