Reviews of historical names in and on university buildings

The President’s Advisory Committee on University History advises the president on matters relating to the history and traditions of the university that require historical interpretation, sensitivity, and expertise. In January 2017, the university established a review process for considering questions raised by the U-M community about historical names in and on university buildings.  The full review process includes a set of principles that should be used in considering requests to review names as well as the specific steps that will be taken when requests are submitted.

 

Review proposals and process summary

For the full process and principles, please see the link above. Because the naming of a space is an honor conferred by the Board of Regents on behalf of the university community, only members of the community may make such requests. Proposals must thoughtfully engage with the principles enunciated in the review process and make a case on that basis for any proposed name change. Those principles include that those who wish to change the formally designated names of spaces or buildings carry a heavy burden to justify removal of a name.

Review proposals from members of the U-M community that are submitted to the Office of the President will be referred to the committee for an initial review. The committee determines whether such a proposal is within its purview, seeks additional information if necessary, and then offers recommendation on whether such a review should proceed.

The president then determines whether such a further review will be conducted, whether by the committee itself or by a subcommittee of and by the committee appointed for the purpose. The committee may add other experts from within or outside the university.

The results of this further review, including, where relevant, a recommendation for action, will be submitted to the president, who will have the authority to accept, reject, or modify any committee recommendation for action. Any proposed name changes are subject to the ultimate authority of the University of Michigan Board of Regents, as described in the Policy for Naming Facilities, Spaces and Streets adopted by the Board of Regents in May 2008.

 

Updates 

On March 29, the request to rescind and remove the name of Alexander Winchell House in the West Quadrangle Residence Hall was approved by the Board of Regents. More information is available here.

On March 29, the request to rescind and remove the name of the Clarence Cook Little Science Building, at 1100 North University Avenue, was approved by the Board of Regents. More information is available here.