Virginia Tech officials will review the names of campus buildings and places in light of controversy swirling around the naming of monuments after Confederate and other historical figures nationally.
A committee chaired by Menah Pratt-Clarke, Tech’s Vice provost for inclusion and diversity, will review campus “buildings and spaces as appropriate,” university spokesman Mark Owczarski wrote in an email.
“Given the national dialogue, the university believed it was the right thing to do to have a process in place to review the broader issue of campus spaces,” Owczarski wrote.
The committee’s formation was not in response to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, but rather to wider conversations about the naming of monuments going on nationally, according to Owczarski.
Owczarski wrote that no particular building or space on campus prompted the move.
The committee is still being formed. A timetable is unknown at this time, but university administrators are hopeful recommendations will be put forth during the school year, though it’s unclear if the committee would ask for any names to be changed or other actions.
“…This work is in the very early stages, and the university believes this is an important conversation to have,” Owczarski wrote.
Tech most recently had controversy around the name of a building in the 1990s and the mid-2000s. That was around Lee Hall named for former university professor Claudius Lee.
An 1896 Bugle Yearbook describes Lee as a leader in the Tech chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. Tech officials in 1997, determined the description was likely a joke and the name should not be changed. In 2005, when the issue resurfaced, the university called for “broader education on the subject of Claudius Lee and also for strengthening diversity efforts across the university,” according to Tech’s building description online.