JMU Board of Visitors approves renaming three buildings named for Confederate leaders

JMU News

The James Madison University Board of Visitors today unanimously approved the removal of the names of three buildings on JMU’s historic Quad that honor Confederate leaders—Jackson, Ashby and Maury halls. Immediately following the vote, signage was taken down and temporary names were assigned. 

“For many people, the memorialization of Confederate leaders on campus was a painful reminder of a history of oppression and racism in our country. JMU believes in creating an equitable learning and working environment where all feel welcomed and valued. These building names were incongruent with that vision,” JMU Board of Visitors Rector Lara Major said. “The board believes it is the institution’s responsibility to evolve alongside our nation and our commonwealth. We are thankful to President Alger and his leadership team for bringing this proposal to us. We are also grateful for the work of so many students, employees and alumni over the years to increase diversity and equity at the university.” 

The university will undertake an inclusive process to rename the three buildings in which the JMU community will have the opportunity to offer naming suggestions. The resolution today passed by the board allows the university to assign temporary, non-honorific names to the buildings in the meantime. The history of these buildings and their names over the years will be described through internal building signage and online information in keeping with the university’s educational mission. 

“I am grateful for the board’s support not only in the decision to remove Confederates’ names from these buildings, but in the deliberative process we took to get to this point. At JMU we believe that how we change matters as much as what we change, and for that reason pursued a years-long strategy of educating, listening and learning, and ultimately acting on this important issue,” JMU President Jonathan R. Alger said. “While there is much work to be done to increase equity and inclusion at JMU beyond changing three building names, the university becomes better and stronger in striving to live out those values. This is a proud day for the university.” 

Additional information can be found here on the renaming process going forward, President Alger’s video addressing the JMU community is available here and images of the buildings can be found here.


About the JMU Board of Visitors

The JMU Board of Visitors is the university’s governing body. As a public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Governor of Virginia appoints 15 members to serve for no more than two successive four-year terms on the board. A student representative, chosen each year by the student body, and the speaker of the JMU Faculty Senate, also serve as non-voting representatives to the board. Board members generally include both alumni and non-alumni of the university. The JMU Board of Visitors has ultimate decision-making authority regarding building names, and the Rector has the authority to call special meetings, as was the case with the meeting held on July 7, 2020 to discuss building names.


Media contact: Mary-Hope Vass,



Back to Top

Published: Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Related Articles