Virginia Commonwealth U. May Rename Buildings, Because Confederacy
Virginia Commonwealth University announced this week that it may rename several buildings on campus over their ties to figures that were associated with the Confederacy. At least six buildings on campus have been targeted for renaming over concerns about their ties to the Confederacy.
According to a local NBC report, Virginia Commonwealth University may rename several buildings on campus over their namesakes’ ties to the Confederacy.
The rebranding campaign was prompted by an internal investigation into “symbols of the Confederacy, racism, slavery, white supremacy and other items of an exclusionary nature that existed on VCU’s campuses.” In a statement, the university said that its campus is “dominated” by symbols and references to the Confederacy.
A commemorative landscape is a space held by a community to remember, celebrate, memorialize and honor people and events of the past with a significant impact on that community. At present, our commemorative landscape is dominated by symbols of the Confederacy, a country formed expressly to perpetuate slavery and white supremacy.
The university argued that it is impossible to separate the societal contributions of individuals associated with the Confederacy from the legacy of slavery.
Though the individuals represented in these statues and building names were complex people who existed within their particular historical contexts, their significant associations with the Confederacy and white supremacy during the Civil War, Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras prevail; their contributions cannot be extracted from the larger symbolic landscape of oppression.
Breitbart News reported in July that VCU’s campus suffered $100,000 in damages during a violent protest by progressive activists. At the time, VCU President Michael Rao expressed concern that the progressive movement had been overtaken by extremists.
“We are concerned about groups that promote destruction and violence co-opting important social justice reform movements,” Rao said. “VCU supports free speech and stands in solidarity with those peacefully expressing messages of social justice and equity for all people. VCU does not condone – under any circumstance – acts of violence or vandalism, regardless of the purported cause.”
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