Renaming Campus Spaces
Listening sessions on renaming spaces took place throughout January 2021 and the Spring 2021 semester (open to Hollins students, faculty, staff and alums). A full report on the Listening Sessions, released in conjunction with President Hinton’s Fall 2021 report on inclusion, is now available.
In September 2021 President Hinton formed the Reconciliation: Campus Spaces task force. The task force was charged with determining criteria for evaluating existing campus space names, and applying those criteria to make a recommendation regarding Tayloe Gymnasium to the Hollins Board of Trustees and to President Hinton. This community-based process was completed when the Hollins Board of Trustees voted unanimously to remove the name “Tayloe” from the Gymnasium. You can read more about the task force here.
Why are we talking about renaming?
(Note: this text is from 2020)
The Working Group on Slavery are in support of considering renaming certain buildings on the Hollins campus. In accordance with President Mary Dana Hinton’s commitment to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion at Hollins, we believe this work is both urgent and important.
In August 2020, President Hinton shared her initial report, “Diversity, Equity, and Justice at Hollins” including key learnings and a list of next steps for action and an accountability structure. Included in the key findings was a sense of urgency around renaming: each stakeholder group reported a need to actively explore the names of our buildings and engage a process for renaming.
This conversation is not new. Black students, faculty and staff have spoken out to describe the discomfort of a campus environment marked by America’s history of oppression, exploitation and discrimination. Faculty and students have worked to uncover the history of enslaved workers at Hollins, and have been urging change. More recently, since June 2020 almost 1,700 people have signed a petition to rename the gymnasium currently named after George Plater Tayloe, who was both a significant benefactor of the university and a prominent slaveholder in the Roanoke Valley.
Hollins does not yet have a renaming committee, nor a fully developed plan or process. Members of the Working Group have been reviewing efforts to rename spaces in universities and other communities, and we have learned that successful renaming requires broad participation and extensive dialogue. With these sessions, we hope to continue and broaden informed conversation in the campus community; we also hope to get feedback to provide the administration with specific recommendations for developing a thoughtful, educational and participatory process.
How Can You Get Involved?
Learn more: our website includes a list of news, reports, scholarly articles and other resources.
Listen and participate: Hollins staff, students, alums and faculty are encouraged to engage with the work of the Reconciliation: Campus Spaces Task Force. Read more about the task force here.
The Working Group on Slavery and Its Contemporary Legacies is a group of Hollins staff, faculty and students examining the history behind buildings and space names on our campus, as part of our overall mission to study and share Hollins’ historical connections to enslavement and the contemporary legacies of slavery on campus. To join our mailing list or contribute your time and labor to the group, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.