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Creating an Inclusive Process to Guide Renaming Decisions

April 12, 2021

Dear Members of the University Community,

As we indicated last week, the Board of Trustees has suspended the recent naming decision and, with President Crutcher, is committed to ensuring a broader, more inclusive process to determine how decisions are made about questions of renaming going forward. We write today with an update.

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.

Accordingly, the Board will create a commission to establish principles on renaming to begin work as soon as possible. The work of this commission will be inclusive and will ensure a fresh start with respect to considering renaming decisions at the University of Richmond. We anticipate that the commission will include both members of the University community and external, independent members with relevant experience and expertise.

In order to ensure thorough and thoughtful preparation for the commission and its work, the Board has asked Trustees Georgia Nugent (President of Illinois Wesleyan University and former President of Kenyon College) and John Roush (President Emeritus of Centre College) to lead planning for the commission, working in consultation with President Crutcher and senior leadership to formulate a recommendation to the Board regarding the commission process and membership. University of Richmond President Emeritus Ed Ayers and Associate Professor of Leadership Studies Julian Hayter have agreed to serve as advisors in the planning work.

This planning stage will consider all community input on this issue that has been, or will be, received by the Board, President Crutcher, and the planning group. In formulating their recommendations to the Board, the planning group will carefully consider the approaches taken by other institutions. The planning work will be conducted expeditiously. If you would like to offer further thoughts for consideration as the details of the commission are finalized, you may do so here.

We look forward to working with the commission and the University community to ensure a clear framework that reflects a broad range of valuable input. The commission will be charged to engage the campus community in substantive and inclusive conversations in the course of its work and to provide a range of opportunities for faculty, staff, students, and alumni to share their views.

We are grateful for the thoughtful suggestions so many members of the community have made, and we look forward to continued collaboration.

The Board of Trustees