Jonathan C. Johnson

Office: PMA 12.136
Department of Mathematics
University of Texas at Austin

Where is your office? Why isn't 'PMA' listed as an official UT building code?

Resolution passed by the UT Senate of College Councils supporting the use of the name "PMA" for the University of Texas physics, math, and astronomy building.

The physics, math, and astronomy departments at the University of Texas at Austin share a building that's officially known as Robert Lee Moore hall (RLM). Moore was a professor of mathematics at UT for nearly 40 years. He was honored in his lifetime for his contributions to the foundations of point-set topology and for his innovative teaching methods.

Moore is remembered today for being a staunch racist and segregationist. Even after UT was formally desegregated in 1956, Moore did not allow Black students to take his courses, and once walked out of a lecture upon discovering that the speaker (a student of one his own students) was black: see here, here, and here for these and other stories about Moore told by Black students who were at the university during this time.

The physics, math, and astronomy building at the University of Texas was named after Moore in 1973, and still carries his name today. Many of the students and faculty in these departments feel that it is not appropriate to honor a man who actively fought against the inclusion of minorities in the sciences, and have advocated for the name of the building to be changed. So far, efforts to change the official name have not been successful.

In the interest of promoting a more inclusive environment for students of all races and backgrounds, many students and faculty - the People for PMA - choose to just refer to the building as the Physics, Math, and Astronomy building (PMA), and will continue to do so until the name of the building honors someone whose legacy supports the values of our institution.