JMU Board of Visitors votes unanimously to change the names of three JMU halls

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 7:34 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The James Madison University Board of Visitors voted unanimously to remove the names of Jackson, Maury, and Ashby halls, effective immediately.

The special virtual meeting came after the university’s president, Jonathan Alger, and the leadership team sent a recommendation from the school to remove the names.

Alger said the topic has been up for discussion for some time and now is the time to take action.

“We can and must remain a big tent that welcomes and hears from different perspectives and experiences. We do believe, however, that now is the time to act,” Alger said.

The topic has seen both sides, but many students, like Sydney Bronaugh, and alumni agree the names should be removed.

“I think they should rename them. I think it would a really simple act that they could do to show support,” Bronaugh said.

Vice-Rector and board member Deborah Tompkins Johnson spoke at the meeting.

“What’s happened in those recent time, just builds on what has happened over decades and centuries that has brought us to this conversation and its’ time. And I do agree also with President Alger that this is the time,” Johnson said.

President Alger and members of the board, like Norman Jones III, agreed this is just one small step.

“I do also want to remind everyone that, in those moments when we feel like we’ve done enough, we can’t stop. And I look forward to seeing, as Maribeth said, this process moving forward as we work together. Some of which is already underway. This is very, very, very important work,” Jones said.

The buildings have been given temporary names that do not honor anyone. The board of visitors plans to have an inclusive process next academic year to choose new names.

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