VCU’s president recommends de-commemorating campus buildings tied to Confederacy

Virginia Politics

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — VCU President Michael Rao announced he will ask the college’s Board of Visitors to remove the names of several buildings around campus linked to members of the Confederacy. 

Here are some of the buildings VCU’s president has recommended be de-commemorated:

  •  McGuire Hall
  • Baruch Auditorium
  • The Ginter House
  • The Jefferson Davis Memorial Chapel
  • The Tompkins-McCaw Library
  • The Wood Memorial Building

All of these building were named after members of the Confederacy.

Some people 8News spoke to on campus hadn’t realized so many confederate names existed at their school. 

“I didn’t really realize that a lot of those lesser known names were part of VCU,” said Rachel Woodward, a VCU alumni. “I went to VCU and if I would have known that I wouldn’t have liked it then. I’m finding out now and I think it’s really important that they change all those.”

“If our school takes a step toward more inclusion I think other people will as well,” current student Reshmi Vhattacharya said. 

Rao’s decision to recommend de-commemorating the buildings was made based on suggestions from the university’s Committee on Commemorations and Memorials. The committee engaged the university community and voted on 18 recommended actions based on feedback it received. It then shared the recommendations with Rao on July 24.

Rao said the symbols send the wrong message to the nearly 50 percent minority student population and VCU Health’s 40 percent African American patient population.

“Yeah, representation matters. What you have on the outside of your building, the way you’re representing to your students, your staff, is very important. I think it’s an integral part of this whole movement of changing society in a huge way,” Woodward said. 

In addition to renaming campus buildings, the Committee on Commemorations and Memorials also recommended petitioning the city of Richmond to remove the Fitzhugh Lee monument, the Joseph Bryan statue, and the W.C. Wickham monument in Monroe Park and the Howitzer statue near Park and Harrison streets.

However, the Monroe Park monuments and Howitzer statue were already removed earlier this summer.

Rao will present his recommendations to the Board of Visitors this week, which will meet from Sept. 17-18.

You can read the university’s full announcement about the recommendation here.

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