Karl Marx Study Hall name changed due to Ukraine-Russia war, officials say

Karl Marx is a household name in the history books, but he is no longer mentioned in a University of Florida study hall.

Marx was one of more than a dozen historical individuals whose name was engraved on various study halls at the university. But after Campus reform reported on March 7 that the Marx study hall angered students, the nameplate was completely removed.

A Karl Marx nameplate in a study hall at the University of Florida was recently removed after nearly eight years, due to the conflict in Ukraine, according to school officials. A statue of philosopher Marx stands in a public park on May 4, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The former “Karl Marx Group Study Room 229” accommodates two to 12 students in the library west of the George A. Smathers Libraries. An inscription that once existed under Marx’s nameplate referred to Marx as a “philosopher, radical economist and revolutionary critic” who is widely credited as the founder of scientific socialism.

Marx is probably best known for his work The communist manifestowritten alongside Friedrich Engels in 1848, which discusses social classes and how capitalism would eventually be replaced by socialism.

Campus reform reported that other scholars in literature, politics, philosophy, and science have study halls named after them, including Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King Jr., Jane Austen , William Shakespeare, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Mahatma Gandhi, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Abraham H. Maslow, Albert Camus, Michel Foucault and Margaret Mead.

“Given current events in Ukraine and elsewhere in the world, we have determined that it is appropriate to remove the name of Karl Marx who was placed on a group study hall at the University of Florida in 2014” said University of Florida spokesman Steve Orlando. Newsweek.

He added that the names of the other study rooms were not removed and no new names were added in place of Marx.

The decision to remove Marx’s nameplate after about eight years has drawn mixed reactions, especially on Twitter.

“The University of Florida has decided to change the name of a room in one of the Karl Marx Reading Room libraries, due to the invasion of Ukraine…let us thank you for a moment if that doesn’t immediately make you wonder what kind of “higher education” takes place here”, tweeted a user named @Red_Ranson.

Marx’s upbringing provoked many reactions, as he was born in Trier in present-day Germany.

“The University of Florida just removed the communist manifesto author, Karl Marx, from their library,” tweeted @AdetolaOlutosin. “They claimed the decision was made in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. What did Marx do? He was German and not at all Russian. Do Americans read?

In 2020, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation released its fifth annual report, documenting United States attitudes toward socialism, communism, and collectivism.

The survey of approximately 2,100 US respondents aged 16 and older found that Gen Z favor of the term “socialism” rose from 40% in 2019 to 49% in 2020. While Americans in overall viewed capitalism less favorably compared to the previous year, down three percentage points, millennials’ faith in capitalism fell 7%. More millennials than Gen Z individuals “support phasing out the capitalist system in favor of a more socialist system.”

Many companies that traditionally do business in Russia have ceased since the fighting began about a month ago, and many decisions have been made to acknowledge consumer concerns and side with Ukraine. Pizza company Papa John’s is the latest to be attacked online for its decision to keep franchises open in Russia.

While more than 380 companies have pulled out of Russia in recent weeks, a total of 28 US-based companies were still doing business overseas as of Tuesday.

Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly openly called Putin a ‘mass murderer’, while actor Mickey Rourke recalled Putin as ‘a man of empathy’ based on a visit with sick children in a Russian hospital in 2014.

About Norma Wade

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