Washington & Lee panel recommends the school keep its name

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tags: Confederate Monuments, Washington and Lee

Will Dudley, president of Washington and Lee, said in a statement following the violence in Charlottesville that "W&L and Lexington have a complex history with regard to the Confederate symbols and figures around which these hateful groups are rallying. Lee, our former president and one of our namesakes, has become a particularly polarizing figure. This gives us a special obligation to be absolutely clear about what we stand for as an institution." The university then appointed a panel to study the university's history and symbols -- with everything up for discussion, even the university's name.

That panel has now come forward with numerous recommendations that the university will now review. The panel suggests keeping the university name but making many other changes. Did the panel go too far or not far enough? It depends whom you ask, as the commission is already being criticized for (to some) unfairly diminishing Lee's legacy and (to others) continuing to glorify traditions that should be set aside.

A backdrop to the discussions is the reality that Washington and Lee has struggled to recruit black students -- despite a strong academic reputation and generous financial aid. Only 2 percent of Washington and Lee undergraduates are black, while 82 percent are white. The top liberal arts colleges with which W&L competes are far more diverse. At Davidson College, one state away, 7 percent of students are black and 68 percent are white.

Read entire article at Inside Higher Ed

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