George Washington University

GW Removing Name of Discriminatory Former School President From Student Center

Although there is no specific date for when the university will start the name-changing process, the student center will now be referred to as University Student Center

George Washington University
Jonathan Newton /The Washington Post via Getty Images

The George Washington University will change the name of its student center from Cloyd Heck Marvin Center to University Student Center, the university announced.

The Board of Trustees of GW voted on the name change based on suggestions from a special committee conformed of students, faculty, staff and alumni, according to a press release.

The committee noted Marvin’s “discriminatory and exclusionary views and policies and the burden of that legacy on diversity and inclusion at GW today,” Roger Fairfax, the committee chair, said. Fairfax is the Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor of Law at GW.

The board approved the parameters for renaming the student center made last year by the members of the Naming Task Force.

The committee evaluated the requests from the GW community who expressed a desire to change the name of the student center.

“GW doesn’t change names lightly, and the board appreciates the hard work and consultation with the community that brought us to this point,” Grace Speights, board chair, said.

The student center received its former name in 1971.

Marvin was the university president from 1927 to 1959.

“Dr. Marvin supported racial segregation and tight controls over students’ freedom of speech on campus,” the press release said.

There is no specific date for when the name-changing process will begin.

CORRECTION (June 30, 2021, 4:55 p.m.): Roger Fairfax was incorrectly identified in an earlier version of this story.

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