University of Richmond Board Suspends Decision to Keep Controversial Names of Two Campus Buildings - Higher Education


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University of Richmond Board Suspends Decision to Keep Controversial Names of Two Campus Buildings

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The University of Richmond’s board of trustees has decided to “suspend” its recent controversial decision to keep the names of slavery and segregation-tied historical figures on two campus buildings, The Washington Post reported.

The board’s action came after a weeks-long uproar at the school.

On Monday Apr. 5, the board released a statement to the faculty senate.

“We respect the deep convictions about these issues among faculty, staff, students, and alumni, and we accept that our process and the proposed decision have not achieved our objectives,” the board said.

“Accordingly, the board has decided to suspend the recent naming decision. The board is reviewing options for a broader, more inclusive process to determine how decisions are made about questions of renaming, and we expect to communicate our plans shortly.”

In prior months, UR had decided to keep the names of the Rev. Robert Ryland and Douglas Southall Freeman on two buildings, renaming Freeman Hall into Mitchell-Freeman Hall – named after African American newspaper editor John Mitchell Jr.

“The board and the university’s president, Ronald A. Crutcher, had contended that keeping the names of Ryland on an academic hall and Freeman on a dormitory would be in keeping with the university’s educational mission. Crutcher, who is the first African American to hold the position, had said he wanted to ensure that the full, often painful story of the university’s history was conveyed to future generations of students,” the Post reported.

The decision was criticized by many students, faculty and staff.

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