Community colleges change name to reflect more inclusiveness

The Virginia State Council for Community Colleges ad this week, he unanimously gave permission to three colleges – John Tyler, Thomas Nelson and Lord Fairfax Community Colleges – to change their names, which commemorate the last political leaders and local landowners who owned slaves. The board asked the administrators of the three establishments to come up with suggestions for new names.

The council also called on the leaders of Dabney S. Lancaster Community College and Patrick Henry Community College to reconsider their decisions to keep their names. Dabney Lancaster, former president of Longwood University, was known for his resistance to school integration in Virginia, and Patrick Henry, first and sixth governor of Virginia, owned slaves, WSLS 10 reported.

The announcement of the name changes follows an updated state council policy on college naming, which was also passed unanimously. The policy specifies that the names of institutions “should reflect the values ​​of inclusive and accessible education set out in the mission statement of VCCS, with particular emphasis on diversity, equity and opportunity, and be relevant to them. students he seeks to serve and for the geography of his region of service. “

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College also recently announced a name change. The institution will be called Northwood Technical College from August. The rebranding comes after market research in 2020 found that prospective college students did not recognize “Indianhead” as a term for the northwestern region of Wisconsin and were confused by the acronym “WITC,” according to the college website.

The name changes are in line with the trend of campus building renaming efforts this academic year. Protests across the country last year following the murder of George Floyd and widespread calls for racial fairness and for systemic and structural change on college campuses have prompted a large number of higher education institutions to remove the names of buildings linked to Confederation, slavery and racist ideologies.

Clemson University in South Carolina withdrew John C. Calhoun’s name from its honors college in June. Western Carolina University has renamed a previously named auditorium in honor of Clyde Hoey, a former governor of North Carolina who was against racial integration. Princeton University removed Woodrow Wilson’s name from one of its residential colleges and from its School of Public and International Affairs for his role in separating federal offices as president.

“Institutions are examining, and in many cases exorcising, symbols of systemic racism that have been around for years,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of the Virginia Community College System. wrote in a statement to college presidents after the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. “I think we need to join this conversation and focus a thorough review on the names that adorn our facilities.”

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