Naming Principles

March 28, 2022

The Board of Trustees, having carefully reviewed and discussed the draft principles at previous meetings, convened on Saturday, March 26, and adopted the Naming Principles as presented by the Commission.

Given the clarity of the principles, and the extensive research previously conducted into the lives and work of Robert Ryland and Douglas Southall Freeman, the Board also voted to remove the names of Ryland Hall and Freeman Hall. In addition, as part of its consideration of the draft principles, the Board requested research into other buildings named for individuals who were enslavers. Four additional buildings were identified: Jeter Hall, Thomas Hall, Brunet Hall, and Puryear Hall. Accordingly, the Board voted to remove the names from those four buildings. Additional information about the buildings can be found here. These actions take effect immediately.

Read the full message from the Board of Trustees.

March 25, 2022

The University's Naming Principles Commission has finalized its recommendations and forwarded them to President Hallock and the Board of Trustees. View the final recommendations.

February 2022

The University's Naming Principles Commission released an interim report about its work and two sets of draft recommendations, as called for in its charge:

  1. Proposed principles to provide consistent guidance for future decisions related to namings and removal of/modification to names, across applications of names (e.g., buildings, professorships, programs, etc.);
  2. A proposed process by which requests may be made for consideration of removal of names (“de-naming”) and by which the principles would be applied to specific cases. 

Work of the Commission

The Commission sought to ensure a transparent and inclusive process, consulting extensively with members of the University community to gain an understanding of the range of perspectives to inform its recommendations. Accordingly:

  • The University engaged the Gallup Organization to conduct the survey of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and parents in fall 2021. More than 7,200 respondents completed the survey between October 18 and November 21, 2021. The survey findings were provided to the University community on January 21 and are available here.
  • The Commission held 16 listening sessions, with more than 300 students, faculty, staff, and alumni participating.
  • The Commission invited written comments from members of the University community and received comments from approximately 100 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and others. A summary of the themes from the listening sessions and written comments can be found here.

In preparing the draft recommendations, the Commission also studied and benefitted from other institutions’ naming principles and procedures; co-sponsored a virtual panel discussion for the University community with colleagues from other institutions to discuss the aims of, approaches to, and lessons drawn from memorialization and institutional history work at their institutions; and consulted with expert advisors from the fields of philanthropy and architectural history.