Saturday, July 20, 2024

Here’s how you can chime in about W&M renaming process

William & Mary's campus in 2013. The Wren Building (center) sits at the end of the Sunken Garden. (WYDaily file/Courtesy of W&M News)
William & Mary’s campus in 2013. The Wren Building (center) sits at the end of the Sunken Garden. (WYDaily file/Courtesy of W&M News)

The William & Mary Principles of Naming and Renaming Working Group wants feedback from the community about its principles to rename buildings, structures and other spaces on the university campus.

“We feel that this is really important for the campus,” said PNR Chairman Warren W. Buck in a prepared statement. “It’s a transition from a campus of the past to the campus of the present and into the future.”

Students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni and other individuals can comment on all three imperatives and all 12 principles through Aug. 22. Click here to take the survey.

See the list of imperatives and principles below and for information about each statement, visit W&M’s Reconciliation Design Imperatives & Principles webpage.

Campus Design

1. The campus landscape should teach.

2. The campus landscape should affirm and bear witness to complexity.

3. The campus landscape should promote fearless and level-headed self-reflection on the history and the present of the university and its community.

Principles for Naming and Renaming

1. All university constituencies must be part of the Naming and Renaming process.

2. Names on structures should represent the present mission and values of William & Mary.

3. No single factor will be determinative of whether an individual’s name should be attached to or removed from a campus building, space or structure.

4. The decision to rename a building, space or remove an item on campus, which is identified with an individual, a cause or an historical era, should have a high bar.

5. Contextualization is a vital component of N&R decisions.

6. When selecting specific names, the N&R process should consider the past, present and future of our campus.

7. Substantive and extensive research is critical to aid in and validate the selection of names.

8. The entire campus landscape should be curated holistically.

9. Bestowing or changing names should contribute to the increase in diversity of commemoration across campus.

10. The rationale behind a campus space/building name should be easy to identify.

11. A name should be relevant to the space, program or unit where it is being used.

12. Procedures should be established for future N&R actions.

The group will review the community feedback, then W&M President Katherine Rowe will take a final draft to the Board of Visitors and if the draft is approved, the objectives will be included in the university’s master plan, according to the news release.

“We’re taking care so that decisions can be made in a systematic way,” Buck said. “That tells a more holistic story of William & Mary and this country.”

The working group was started after the death of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis who died after a white officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck. The group was organized in an effort to make the campus and the university more inclusive.

The group is focusing on the Confederates first, making a list of new names and suggested buildings to be renamed in August and September.

The PNR Working Group must submit its final report to Rowe by February 2021.


Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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