The University System of Georgia has formed an advisory group to review the names of buildings and colleges at all 26 USG universities, including the University of Georgia.
The group is made up of five members and will report to the USG Board of Regents, according to a Wednesday news release. The group’s recommendations will be announced publicly once they finish the review.
“USG’s mission is knowledge, and this action today is a step toward addressing how communities understand the history and context involving our campuses,” Board Chancellor Steve Wrigley said in the release. “While the review may be one part of a much broader discussion, I believe it is essential to advance how we serve students and all Georgians.”
In February, UGA’s College of Education was named in honor of Mary Frances Early, the university’s first Black graduate. Many of UGA’s buildings are still named for historical figures that are controversial because of their racist ideologies and actions. Recent protests against racial inequality have prompted a renewed push for the renaming of buildings on campus.
A Change.org petition to change the name of UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication to honor Charlayne Hunter-Gault, one of the first two students to integrate UGA, has amassed over 8,000 signatures as of press time. Hunter-Gault graduated with a journalism degree in 1963.
The petition is directed to the Board of Regents, the faculty and instructors of the college and Grady Dean Charles Davis. Henry Grady, the college’s namesake, was a vocal proponent of white supremacy.
A separate Change.org petition asks UGA President Jere Morehead and the school administration to create a task force of UGA faculty, administration, students and Athens residents to review the history of all UGA buildings and handle the renaming process. The petition has nearly 5,000 signatures as of press time.
An Instagram campaign named @rename_uga has amassed nearly 900 followers since Sunday. The campaign has listed specific demands that reiterate the demands of the petition.
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UGA has a dark and often unrecognized history of enabling and profiting off of slavery. Many of the buildings we enter each day are named after prominent racists, segregationists, and slave owners. President Morehead and UGA administration - it is time to take a stand and support your Black and minority students who walk on campus every day. Create a task force to review the history of all UGA buildings and rename all identified buildings. Also sign a written confirmation that all identified buildings will be renamed in a specified number of years. Listen to the UGA community, look to your peer institutions, and do not be on the wrong side of history any longer. Students, alumni, and supporters, please sign the petition linked in our bio to support this cause! (All graphic credits to @nickedwrds)