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Virginia Tech president demands review of all campus building names

(AP Photo)

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands wants to order a review of all the building names on campus to ensure that they’re not named after Confederate leaders and generals.

According to the Collegiate Times, Sands has initiated an effort to examine and review the legacy of Confederates on Virginia Tech’s campus. In their report, Tracy Vosburgh, senior associate vice president for university relations, revealed that Sands has directed Menah Pratt-Clarke, vice president for strategic affairs and vice provost for inclusion and diversity, to lead the review.

“[Pratt-Clarke will] convene a committee to review the historical naming of buildings and spaces where questions have been raised,” Vosburgh wrote.

The move by Sands comes less than a month after the violence that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia where 35-year-old Heather Heyer was killed when a car, driven by white supremacist James Alex Fields, plowed through a crowd of counter-protesters marching against the Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee. Since that incident, a number of university presidents have ordered a review or removal of Confederate statues.

While Virginia Tech lacks a Confederate memorial, they have several buildings named after people –McBryde, Vawter, and Lane halls — who fought for the Confederacy and later went on to contribute to the university.

McBryde Hall is named for John McLaren McBryde, who actually served as the university’s president from 1891 to 1907. He’s often referred to as the “Father of VPI” [VPI is the old acronym for Virginia Polytechnic Institute]. McBryde enlisted in the Confederate volunteer company in 1861, was later part of a Virginia cavalry unit, and then served in the Confederate Treasury Department and War Tax Office.

Vawter Hall was named after Charles Erastus Vawter Sr., who served as a rector of the Board of Visitors from 1886 until 1900. He served as a captain in the Stonewall Brigade after dropping out of college. While fighting for the Confederacy, he was captured and held as a prisoner of war.

Lane Hall was named after James Henry Lane, who was a Confederate brigadier general in the 28th North Carolina Infantry.

While the online descriptions of the three buildings don’t mention that they fought for the Confederacy, only Lane Hall includes that James Henry Lane was a “civil war veteran.”


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