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Dennis Hastert’s College Is Scrubbing His Name

Wheaton College has altered the name of a center named for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert in the wake of a federal indictment accusing Hastert of making payments to cover-up alleged sexual misconduct.

The former T. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy has been “re-designated” as the Wheaton College Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy. The name change comes shortly after Hastert announced his resignation from the center’s advisory board.

“We commit ourselves to pray for all involved, including Speaker Hastert, his family, and those who may have been harmed by any inappropriate behavior, and to continue the work and mission of the Wheaton College Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy,” Wheaton said in a statement Sunday.

Wheaton is known for its strict Evangelical Protestant character, with a code of conduct that prohibits premarital sex and tobacco use. Hastert graduated from Wheaton with an economics degree in 1964, and has been an active supporter of the college over the years. The Hastert Center was dedicated in 2008, with a stated goal is of promoting the benefits of free enterprise along with “the redeeming effects of the Christian worldview on the practice of business, government and politics.”

The Center’s website has already been swiftly updated to reflect its new name, and a biography crediting Hastert with “spearhead[ing] legislation on child abuse prevention” has been scrubbed.

Even with the Center’s new name, Hastert still will have significant ties to Wheaton. The school’s library holds a vast archive of Hastert’s personal papers. Whether that archive will be going anywhere remains unclear.

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