Georgia’s public university system will not rename any of its 75 buildings linked to slavery or racial segregation, stating that “history can teach us important lessons”.
“The purpose of the story is to teach,” the Board of Regents for Georgia’s Public University System wrote in a statement. “History can teach us important lessons, lessons that, when understood and applied, will make Georgia and its people stronger.”
The board unanimously voted against such changes on Monday, almost a year after setting up a committee to investigate the names and possible changes. The internal committee had recommended changes to be made to 75 buildings on campus named after Confederate leaders and others.
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“The board has committed itself for the future to identify measures that reflect the strength and energy of the diversity of Georgia,” added the board.
Athens, Georgia, USA – May 7, 2010: The columnar facade of the Garden Club of Georgia Headquarters House on the grounds of the State Botanical Garden on the grounds of the University of Georgia, Athens,
The announcement came after Georgia passed law in 2019 banning state agencies from changing building names that honor a “historical entity.” Many of the regents on the board of directors of Georgia’s public university system were appointed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp, who endorsed the 2019 law, Fox reported 5.
People who supported the name changes slammed the board after its decision on Monday.
“The decision by Georgia’s Board of Regents to retain the names of well-known racists, segregationists, and white racists in the state’s public colleges and universities is not surprising. It shows us the board’s support for racism and maintaining white supremacy, ”a group called Renaming Grady said in a statement.
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Statues of Christopher Columbus, Confederate leaders, Catholic Saint Junípero Serra and others were overturned in the summer of 2020 amid riots and protests across the country following the death of George Floyd. Other similar statues were also removed or covered by local governments last year through 2021.
City workers cover the statue of Christopher Columbus on Marconi Plaza, Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in the South Philadelphia neighborhood of Philadelphia. (AP Photo / Matt Slocum)
Some schools soon set up committees to investigate whether building names or statues were considered insensitive due to their links to slavery, racial segregation, or the mistreatment of Native Americans in US history. Towson University, for example, removed slave owner names from two dormitories earlier this year. In Chicago, the public school system committed to renaming 30 buildings with the names of slave owners.
Crews are working to remove one of the country’s largest remaining memorials to the Confederacy, a towering statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue, Wednesday, September 8, 2021, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo / Steve Helber, pool.))
(AP Photo / Steve Helber, Pool)
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However, other schools have followed the same path as the Georgian public university system and decided not to change their name. Washington and Lee University’s Board of Trustees voted earlier this year to keep his name, which in part honors Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate Army.