Dear Members of the Campus Community,
In February I wrote to you about my plan to convene a Committee to Recommend Principles on Renaming University Buildings and Spaces, in concert with the board of trustees and consistent with the goals of the Leadership for a Changing World strategic plan. And then the pandemic was upon us, and our progress on this important project was delayed.
It is now time to name and convene this committee to begin its work so that Puget Sound can have a framework in place to guide us in confronting historical legacies that may not align with our values today. The committee will view the broader contexts in which naming decisions occur, and will be charged with articulating and recommending institutional principles that will guide us in evaluating and determining whether to remove or replace any name from a building or other prominent structure or space on campus. The committee will provide its recommendation to me, and I in turn will bring forward a policy for consideration by our board of trustees.
It is essential that Puget Sound is prepared to thoughtfully and holistically assess and address any renaming requests that arise on our own campus. Our university policy affirms that new naming of buildings or campus spaces can occur through agreements with donors or through independent action of the board of trustees. However, the policy is silent on the process for considering the removal or replacing of a name on a university building or space. We must address this gap. Of note, the Committee will not be asked to examine any specific named building or space on campus as part of its charge. That work will be guided by our new policy.
Given the time that has elapsed and other commitments claiming the attention of our originally announced co-chairs, we are welcoming new co-chairs to guide this work: Professor Sara Freeman and Collins Memorial Library Director Jane Carlin. They will lead a broad-based committee of faculty, staff and student representatives who will be nominated for service through the Faculty Senate chair, Staff Senate chair, and ASUPS president, as well as a Cabinet member, trustee, and alumni. I will then compose a committee with appropriate balance and expertise, and charge it to seek input from members of the campus community to ensure that all voices are represented.
Please join me in thanking Jane and Sara for their service as co-chairs of the committee. If you have any questions or information to provide to the committee at any time, please contact Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org and Sara at email@example.com.
Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President