IU, Bloomington renaming road named after eugenics backer


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana University and the city of Bloomington are turning to the public as they seek a new name for a thoroughfare named after a late IU president who was a proponent of eugenics.

Bloomington residents can submit proposed alternative street names online for the current Jordan Avenue. The university will rename a portion of the thoroughfare, while the city will rename the remaining segment, The Herald-Times reported.

David Starr Jordan served as IU’s president from 1885 to 1891 and was a professor of zoology from 1875 to 1885. He was a proponent of eugenics, which is the practice of controlled selective breeding of humans often carried out through forced sterilization.

Jordan wrote in a book about his belief that humanity would thrive only if the fittest were promoted.

The city of Bloomington said in a statement that Jordan “was at the forefront of the American eugenics movement and used its theories to promote forced sterilization legislation, enacted in more than 30 states including Indiana during the 20th century.”

“American eugenic thought has also been acknowledged as an influence on the racial theories that led to the Holocaust,” the statement also said.

Last October, IU decided to strip Jordan’s name from a university hall, parking garage and river after a committee concluded that the former president “held views that conflicted fundamentally with the university’s values.”

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