James Madison University board approves removal of Confederate leaders names on buildings

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-07 18:39:56-04

HARRISONBURG, Va. - The James Madison University Board of Visitors unanimously approved the removal of the names of three buildings on JMU’s historic Quad that honor Confederate leaders.

Immediately following the vote on Tuesday, signage was taken down and temporary names were assigned to Jackson, Ashby and Maury halls.

“For many people, the memorialization of Confederate leaders on campus was a painful reminder of a history of oppression and racism in our country. JMU believes in creating an equitable learning and working environment where all feel welcomed and valued. These building names were incongruent with that vision,” JMU Board of Visitors Rector Lara Major said.

The university will undertake an inclusive process to rename the three buildings in which the JMU community will have the opportunity to offer naming suggestions.

The university will assign temporary, non-honorific names to the buildings in the meantime. The history of these buildings and their names over the years will be described through internal building signage and online information in keeping with the university’s educational mission.

“I am grateful for the board’s support not only in the decision to remove Confederates’ names from these buildings, but in the deliberative process we took to get to this point. At JMU we believe that how we change matters as much as what we change, and for that reason pursued a years-long strategy of educating, listening and learning, and ultimately acting on this important issue,” JMU President Jonathan R. Alger said. “While there is much work to be done to increase equity and inclusion at JMU beyond changing three building names, the university becomes better and stronger in striving to live out those values. This is a proud day for the university.”