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University of Cincinnati removes Marge Schott's name from baseball stadium

Joe Kay
Associated Press

Cincinnati — The University of Cincinnati is removing Marge Schott’s name from its baseball stadium and a library archive in light of her racist comments while owner of the Cincinnati Reds.

The school’s board of trustees unanimously approved the move Tuesday, a dozen days after a Catholic high school also decided to remove references to Schott from its facilities. Over the years, UC students, faculty at alumni have objected to Schott’s name on school facilities, but no changes were made.

Late Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott was suspended multiple times in the 1980s, for racist comments and comments she made about Adolf Hitler.

“Marge Schott’s record of racism and bigotry stands at stark odds with our university’s core commitment to dignity, equity and inclusion,” said school president Neville G. Pinto, who recommended the change.

The national push for racial justice sparked by George Floyd’s death has prompted local institutions to revisit Schott’s history.

After her death in 2004, most of her estate went to a foundation that funds a wide range of philanthropic ventures. Her name is featured on many facilities in the city.

As Reds owner, Schott was repeatedly suspended and ultimately ousted by Major League Baseball for her slurs and praise of Adolf Hitler. Team employees said Schott used slurs for Black players and made derogatory remarks about Jews and Japanese. She said Hitler was “good at the beginning” but then “went too far.”

Major League Baseball banned her from the team’s day-to-day operations for the 1993 season and levied another suspension after she returned and continued to make offensive remarks. Ultimately, she was forced to sell controlling interest in the team in 1999.

The university built Marge Schott Stadium with a $2-million donation from the Marge & Charles J. Schott Foundation in 2006. In addition to removing Schott’s name from the stadium, trustees agreed also to remove it from a space in its archives library.

“I hope this action serves as an enduring reminder that we cannot remain silent or indifferent when it comes to prejudice, hate or inequity,” Pinto said. “More than ever, our world needs us to convert our values into real and lasting action.”

Earlier this month, Saint Ursula Academy in Cincinnati decided to remove Schott’s name from a science, language and arts building that was constructed with the help of her donation. It’s also renaming its athletic facility, which was called “Schottzie Stadium” in honor of Schott’s dog.

Schott’s foundation has encouraged discussions about naming rights.

“While we cannot make excuses for the rhetoric made by Mrs. Schott decades ago, we can ask you to learn from Mrs. Schott’s mistakes as well as her great love for Cincinnati,” the foundation said in a statement this month. “We appreciate what these great organizations bring to Cincinnati and we fully support the decisions made by the organizations who have received grants from the Foundation.”