- Two prominent California universities will remove the names of controversial figures from campus buildings and programs due to the role they played in oppressing minorities and native culture, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Stanford University will take the name of 18th century mission leader Father Junipero Serra from two dormitories and its mailing address. The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law will eliminate from a host of programs and facilities the name of John Boalt, a 19th century attorney who played a key role in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
- Polls of Berkeley students, staff and alumni found about one-half wanted Boalt's name removed while one-third thought doing so was "a waste of resources." A small share wanted it to be replaced with the name of his wife, Elizabeth Boalt, a Berkeley donor after his death.
The moves follow a similar one in May 2017 by the University of San Francisco to remove the name of James D. Phelan, a former U.S. senator and San Francisco mayor, from a student dorm in response to his legacy of supporting Japanese exclusion. The dorm was renamed after Burl Toler, the first black NFL referee and an alumnus of the university.
Officials at Yale University, the University of Pittsburgh, Wesleyan College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are among those who have disassociated their institutions from figures who gained their acclaim through acts and policies that perpetuated systemic exclusion, discrimination and racism. This modern day reckoning has reached fever pitch in recent years.
Confederate monuments and symbols have been a particular focus. The Southern Poverty Law Center noted that since the July 2015 mass shooting by a white supremacist at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, more than 100 Confederate symbols nationwide have been removed while more than 1,700 still stand. The count does not include battlefields, cemeteries, markers and other largely historical symbols.
Debate is ongoing at UNC Chapel Hill over whether Silent Sam, a statue honoring confederate soldiers, should be returned to its original location near the university's entrance, placed elsewhere on campus or displayed at all. The statue was pulled down by protesters in August after years of calls for UNC to remove it.
Experts recommend administrators provide an outlet for student activism responding to the presence of such monuments and symbols on campus as well as potentially controversial speakers, establish a course of action for responding to unrest, and carefully train those involved in protecting students and the campus.