What’s in a Name? After Years of Student Activism, Universities Rename Campus Buildings

Dr. Donna Y. Ford, a distinguished professor of education at The Ohio State University, lived near a road called “Plantation.” When she went about her errands, she would actively avoid the street. It didn’t matter if it was the most direct route or how bad traffic was. But when she worked at Vanderbilt University, she didn’t have a choice. She had to pass Confederate Memorial Hall, until the university decided to change the name in 2016.

“Far too many people don’t understand the psychological dilemma that these building names put on students who just want to go to class and learn and get their degrees,” she said. “There’s trauma there.”

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