Former Gov. Douglas sues Middlebury College over chapel name
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - Former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas is suing Middlebury College for removing the ‘Mead Memorial Chapel’ sign from the institution’s historic and iconic structure.
Now called the Middlebury Chapel, the more than century-old marble building stands on the campus’s highest point and often serves as the recognizable backdrop to its branding, marketing, and merchandising.
Former Gov. John Mead, who served from 1910 to 1912, paid to construct the meeting house and place of worship at his alma mater in 1914, under the condition it bear the name Mead in honor of his ancestors.
Douglas, who filed the breach of contract complaint in Rutland County Superior Court Friday on behalf of the Mead family, claims that’s a misrepresentation of the former governor’s legacy.
“It essentially called Governor Mead a racist, and that’s simply false,” Douglas told Channel 3 News. “John Mead was a tremendous public servant. He was a loyal alumnus. He was very generous to the college. He was quite progressive for his era. He supported women’s suffrage, tougher child labor laws, campaign finance disclosure, the direct primary, clean energy through the greater use of hydro-electric power. He did a tremendous amount of work for the people of Vermont, and to have his reputation sullied because of a couple of remarks that he made in 1912 is totally unfair.”
Douglas says the removal is a symptom of ‘cancel culture.’
The goal of the lawsuit is to get the ‘Mead Memorial Chapel’ name restored. It also seeks compensation to cover the cost of litigation.
Middlebury College declined to comment.
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