University of Virginia Takes Steps to Make its Campus a More Welcoming Place

The board of visitors at the University of Virginia has announced several changes to the campus landscape. Jim Ryan, president of the University of Virginia, stated that these “actions that will make this place more clearly and obviously welcoming to all, and where all have an opportunity to thrive.”

Among the actions being taken  are:

  1. Renaming the Curry School of Education and Human Development as the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development. The revision drops the name of J.L.M. Curry, who was a slaveholder, Confederate leader, and opposed integrated schools.
  2. Contextualizing the statue of Thomas Jefferson on the north side of the Rotunda. The board’s resolution acknowledged Jefferson’s contributions to the university and the nation, but also pointed out that he owned slaves and used slave labor to construct the university.
  3. Rededication, if possible, or removal, if rededication is not possible, of the Hume Memorial Wall, known as the Whispering Wall, which is a Confederate memorial honoring Confederate soldiers and Virginia politician Frank Hume.
  4. Removing the name Withers from Withers-Brown Hall at the  School of Law. The name previously honored Henry Malcolm Withers, a Confederate leader whose family owned slaves.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Michael says:

    This nothing more surface level symbolic change at the Commonwealth school called the University of Virginia. All of these so-called White UVA administrators were fully aware of this history and suddenly they have a change of heart. Really! In my view, UVA is akin to Ole Miss in reference to how it historically and currently mistreats and undervalue so-called Black faculty, Black students, and Black staff. When UVA change both institutional and structural racism then we can have serious conversation.

    • Ronald B. Saunders says:

      Brother Michael, UVA cannot airbrush its racist past or present history, but don’t you feel that everyone has the capacity to change? Our shining Black Prince brother Malcolm changed and grew as a person. UVA has repented its original sins of slavery and racism. Now will you work in concert with others at UVA to change the entire social, political and cultural landscape at the University of Virginia with reference to addressing the deep seated structural barriers at the university to make the campus a better place for all students, faculty and staff to work, live, study and prosper?

      • Michael says:

        Hey Ronald,

        You woefully misinterpreted my comment. It appears to me that you’re a staunch supporter of academic incrementalism at UVA. In my view, it’s very disingenous to associate the evolution of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and UVA surface level contextual change. Further, the working in “concert with others
        (do you mean the ruling White administrators and Board of Visitors) that you proudly pontificating about will be from a position of inferiority and not equal. Also, I can definitely tell you that under the guise of neoliberal education and political corrrectness have significantly impacted your ability to have a sense of Black critical thniking skills (respectfully). You just don’t get it “brother”.

        • Ronald B. Saunders says:

          Brother Michael: Why did you see the need to attack me personally rather than the problem that you identified in said original comment?
          You lost some credibility with me your personal attacks. Always brother Michael attack the problem and not the person.
          I have no interest in you pontificating about the problems at the University of Virginia. What is your game plan and remedy for attacking plus addressing the deep seated individual and structural institutional racism at the University of Virginia and when will you reveal your plan to said masses?
          For the record brother Michael, the University of Havana is not a neoliberal educational institution. After all is said, we would submit that our best gain and advantage lies in working together in a cooperative spirit rather than a climate of acrimony and personal enmity. Brother Michael we have common friends and common enemies. We must be considerate to the one and proselytise the other and if possible, convert him.. Tell me if you want to work together to address the problems at UVA?
          Power To The People!

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