MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Ten months after Alabama State University trustees banished his name from the Acadome building, long time board member Joe L. Reed's name is inching closer to returning to the signature building on campus. On Wednesday a bill to re-name the building for Reed passed in a legislative committee.
When the ASU board voted to remove Reed's name they said he had become a detrimental and negative influence on the university.
"This bill, in my judgement, restores the integrity and respect that I have for Dr. Reed," said Rep. James Buskey (D-Mobile).
There are those who oppose the bill.
"The truth is...," said Brenda Kahn-Spells of the ASU National Alumni Association, "I don't think anyone here would dare tread on the sacred traditions of, or violate the sanctity of Alabama or Auburn."
"The overriding reason for opposition to this bill is that this is not rightfully a matter of legislative concern," said former County School Board member Herman Harris.
More people spoke in favor of the passage than against it, however.
"I've heard it said that the legislature has never bothered with building names and never intervened in the action of the board," said Paul Hubbert with the Alabama Education Association. "There was a very popular governor named Bibb Graves. None of us remember him but we have seen his name on virtually every campus in the state of Alabama. That name was put there by the Alabama legislature out of respect for his actions as a education governor."
And the man at the center of the controversy spoke as well. "I can tell you exactly why my name came down," explained Reed. "Very simple. I oppose, and still oppose, some expenditures that were being made and the way they were being made, and the resolution that took my name down says part of that, not all of it. That's why my name was taken off. I was trying to do my duty."
There are legislators who agree that's what happened. "Vindictiveness really, really ought not to be apart of a trustee boards' decision making," said Rep. Demetrius Newton (D- Birmingham).
"When somebody does wrong somebody got to correct it and only you can correct this now, and I ask you to do so and restore my name back on because it's a question of honor, question of honor, a question of honor," Reed said before stepping away from the podium.
Another legislator, Yyvonne Kennedy (D- Mobile) reminded the committee that the house voted recently to restore the name of James E. Foy to the student union building at Auburn University.