HomeNewsBoard of Regents won’t change names of buildings, colleges with racist links

Board of Regents won’t change names of buildings, colleges with racist links

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by Dave Williams | Nov 23, 2021 | Capitol Beat News Service

ATLANTA – The University System of Georgia has decided not to pursue plans to rename dozens of buildings and colleges named for historical figures associated with racism.

The board voted Monday not to accept the recommendations of an advisory board headed by Albany State University President Marion Fedrick formed in June of last year to explore the issue.

“The intent of the advisory group was to better understand the names that mark our buildings and colleges, recognizing there would likely be a number of individuals who engaged in behaviors or held beliefs that do not reflect or represent our values today,” the regents wrote in a joint statement. .

“We acknowledge, understand and respect there are many viewpoints on this matter. Going forward, the board is committed to naming actions that reflect the strength and energy of Georgia’s diversity.”

The advisory committee was formed weeks after George Floyd, a Black man, was murdered in Minneapolis by a white police officer, which touched off street protests across the country.

A national wave of removals of statues honoring Confederate political and military leaders also served as a backdrop to reexamining the names of university buildings and colleges, including the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, named for late-19th century journalist and segregationist Henry Grady.

“The University System of Georgia is majority minority – 54% of our students identify as non-white, representing the strength and diversity of this state,” said Regent Sarah-Elizabeth Langford of Atlanta.

 “In a university system tasked with educating the leaders of tomorrow, we must support the students of today and create an inclusive environment for learning. This is incredibly important as the board works to ensure future namings reflect the strength of Georgia’s diverse communities.”

Although the board opted not to move forward with the renamings, the advisory committee’s work was valuable, said Regent Don Waters of Savannah.

“I believe it is important for students and the system to know and understand the history on our campuses and in our communities as we work together to build a better future,” he said. “History is a great teacher, and we and our institutions can learn much from this effort.”

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

4 COMMENTS

  1. First off, to Dave Williams…why do you capitalize the word “Black”? I see this as a trend when mentioning a black person, but writer’s refuse the same for someone who is white….why is that okay or even appropriate? In and of itself, I find that offensive. Or is that the goal?
    Secondly, without getting into the political parade and racial machinations of this movement, I think one of the big reasons this is being struck down is because of…what else??…money. If some family or individual wants to donate millions of dollars to a university, you don’t think this sort of ridiculous mess is going to make them hesitant because some search committee may plow through old records and find that their great, great, great, great (you get the idea) relative may have done or said something 200 years ago that isn’t congruent with what is currently being said or done?? Then the unwitting present-day family or individual gets ridiculed, chastised, and disgraced for it?
    Naaaahh….we’ll just hang on to our millions of dollars, thank you very much. Nevermind that that huge donation would provide opportunities and benefits for countless students.

  2. “The University System of Georgia has decided not to pursue plans to rename dozens of buildings and colleges named for historical figures associated with racism.” It WAS NOT “racism” in those days. It was the legal, standard labor practice of the era. I’m offended at the Regents calling my ancestors racists—and incidentally, none of my ancestors owned slaves, before, during, or after the Northern invasion. My great grandfather however, did serve honorably in the Confederate Cavalry, and unlike his Northern counterparts, he did not burn down homes of the Yankees, rape any of their women, or loot their possessions. Proud to be a Southerner.

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