By Amy Friedenberger The Roanoke Times
Washington and Lee University will retain its name after a nearly year-long review on whether to reconsider its connection to Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
The board announced the news on Friday and that there was no consensus on a name change. The board, acknowledging that the fact that Lexington’s private university bears Lee’s name can be painful for those who experience racism, voted 22-6 to retain the name.
And at the same time, the board announced it will expand diversity and inclusion initiatives and a series of changes to campus buildings and symbols, practices and governance.
“We are confident that W&L will emerge stronger from our active engagement on these issues, the work we have done together and the actions and commitments we take,” the board said in its written statement. “We look forward to continuing to engage our community on these critical issues as we execute our strategic plan in support of our mission.”
Washington and Lee formed a special committee last July to review her relationship with Lee and whether to change her name. The board gathered feedback from campus constituencies, analyzed the data and consulted with experts.
The board received a divided response, in survey responses and reactions on campus, among the Washington community and Lee on the university’s name.