Virginia Tech Reviews Renaming Dorm With Possible Klan LinkBreaking News
tags: racism, Ku Klux Klan, colleges and universities
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech is weighing the renaming of its Lee Hall dorm once again.
But the building has nothing to do with Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general whose monument in Richmond Gov. Ralph Northam intends to take down as soon as possible.
Named for Claudius Lee, an 1896 alumnus and a Tech electrical engineering professor, the dorm has faced numerous calls to be renamed ever since history students in the 1990s discovered a yearbook claiming Lee as a campus Ku Klux Klan leader.
Over the years, the university has rejected calls to rename the building, citing historical evidence suggesting the KKK reference was likely more a 19th-century student prank than a reflection of an active campus group.
But after an online petition to rename the hall garnered nearly 10,000 signatures on June 8, President Tim Sands announced Tech would revisit the issue.
“To those who seek to rename Lee Hall, we want you to know that we have heard your concern,” Sands wrote in a message to community members. “While there have been earlier reviews of the naming of Lee Hall, I am asking that we review this issue again.”
The president’s request to the Council on Virginia Tech History about renaming goes beyond the conclusions in the group’s 2018 report commissioned after white supremacist violence in Charlottesville. That report said, “rather than renaming buildings whose namesakes have become controversial, the Council would prefer to acknowledge the full histories of the individuals on historical markers.”
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