UR Board of Trustees to create renaming commission

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The University of Richmond announced plans to establish a commission that will more deliberately weigh the choice to rename two of their campus buildings. The university plans for the commission to set “specific principles” for renaming decisions.

The university’s initial decision to keep the names for Ryland Hall and Mitchell-Freeman Hall sparked backlash and protests.

Ryland both enslaved people and hired them out to other for profit. Dr. Douglas Southhall Freeman — who is jointly honored with former slave John Mitchell, Jr. — was said to have glorified the Confederacy, promoted segregation and disenfranchisement of Blacks and advocated for eugenics.

UR backtracked on that decision, opting to suspend it and pursue a more inclusive approach to renaming decisions.

Their newly announced solution is a commission that will guide the renaming process for the two buildings in question as well as other potential buildings in the future.

A release from the University of Richmond states, “Many members of the University community have recommended that we undertake a deliberate process to establish specific principles to guide decisions about renaming. This is a practice that numerous other institutions have successfully adopted. We fully agree that this is an essential next step for the University of Richmond.”

The release states that the commission’s work will be inclusive and bring change to how UR addresses renaming decisions.

They plan to bring together university community members and independent members that have the necessary experience and expertise to help contribute to the process.

Anyone wishing to provide feedback on the commission creation process and renaming can submit opinions here.

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