Task force unanimously recommends John Tyler Community College name change

Education

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A task force has unanimously voted to recommend renaming John Tyler Community College.

The community college is looking to distance itself from its namesake John Tyler, the 10th President of the United States, who owned two plantations in Charles City County during his lifetime. He was also a slaveholder, supported slavery throughout his political career and was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives.

The community college also wants to rid themselves of references to former Governor Mills Godwin and former Senator Lloyd C. Bird, who opposed school integration.

8News obtained a letter from JTCC’s Office of the President informing the college community of the decision. According to the letter, the task force made up of faculty, staff, current students, alumni and more, considered the appropriateness of the John Tyler Community College name.

“Task force member discussed the importance of the names associated with out institution reflecting our culture of diversity and inclusion that empowers anyone from anywhere to be successful; our dedication to ensuring access to high-quality, high-value education for all; and our vision of a success story for every student,” wrote JTCC President Edward Raspiller, Ed.D.

Following the announcement, officials will recommend two building name changes: Godwin Hall and Bird Hall. Additionally, several street names, including John Tyler Drive at the Chester Campus and Gardiner Court, Greenway Crossing, Peacemaker Court, Tippecanoe Lane and Tippecanoe Trail at the Midlothian Campus, will be seeking changes.

The decision to change the name of any community college in Virginia and any campus is at the sole discretion of the commonwealth’s State Board for Community Colleges, President Edward added.

Recommendations will be submitted in time for the Board’s March 2021 meeting.

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