Washington and Lee University to give name decision in June
LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s Washington and Lee University is expected to announce this summer whether or not it will change its name, nearly a year after a committee was formed to evaluate the school’s ties to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, according to a board of trustees official.
Washington and Lee Board of Trustees Rector Mike McAlevey gave the June deadline last week in an email to the campus community, the Roanoke Times reported.
In July, the university formed a committee to gather input from campus stakeholders and experts to help make a recommendation on dropping Lee’s name from the school. The move came a little more than a month after George Floyd’s killing, and as protests against racial injustice swept the country.
Lee was named president of what was then Washington College shortly after the end of the Civil War in 1865, serving in the role until his death in 1870. His name was then added to the school alongside George Washington’s. Lee’s body lies in a tomb on the Lexington campus.
University faculty members voted 188-51 in favor of removing Lee’s name during a virtual meeting in July. And in March, a student group held a walkout event in support of a renaming. Still, some students and alumni have opposed the change, using the slogan “Retain the Name” on billboards and banners to advocate for keeping Lee in the title, according to the Roanoke Times.