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Many colleges and universities are acknowledging and examining critically their institutional ties to slavery, segregation, racism, and discrimination. On some campuses, activity has focused on removing monuments, statues, and buildings that today symbolize institutional complicity in historic systems of oppression. These efforts are connected to a broader movement for truth-telling campus history projects that emerged at places like Georgetown and William and Mary in the early 2000s. JMU’s campus history work builds on common practices associated with members of the Virginia-based Universities Studying Slavery consortium.

The formal charges of the Campus History Committee, which reports to the Provost’s office and was formed in spring 2020 to continue work conducted 2017-19 by the History and Context Committee, include

  • mapping the campus’s commemorative landscape,
  • making recommendations related to building names, and
  • evaluating how the institution tells its own history. 

One of the committee’s short-term objectives is to make recommendations for renaming Justice Studies, Valley and Mountain Halls. Below is the committee’s process for this.

  1. Establish communication plan and channels [summer].
  2. Expand committee to include more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color participation, per inclusive best practices [summer].
  3. Produce preliminary list of potential individuals deserving recognition [summer-fall].
  4. Host public events to gather input from targeted groups (dialogues, focus groups, input sessions) [fall].
  5. Submit recommendations to President Alger and senior leadership [fall].
Subscribe for email updates at to receive news on progress, participate in the renaming project, and learn more about the JMU campus and the committee’s work.

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