UC removes slave-owning founder’s name from title of largest college

UC votes to remove slave owner's name from college of arts and sciences

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The University of Cincinnati’s board on Tuesday unanimously voted to change the name of a college that once held the name of a slave owner, according to an online statement from the university.

UC says McMicken College of Arts and Sciences will now simply go by the College of Arts and Sciences.

A separate UC website post says the college was named after Charles McMicken, a Pennsylvania businessman who regularly traveled through Cincinnati and gave city officials nearly $1 million in real estate when he died in 1858 to found a university.

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The vote comes in the wake of a university-level group formed by UC President Neville Pinto made recommendations after considering McMicken’s legacy and his name’s affiliation with the university, the post states.

The university says it will still keep signs and areas on campus that reference the former McMicken name but will install digital displays next to them to provide context about the association between it and McMicken himself.

Moreover, the name will no longer appear on business cards, letterheads, web pages and advertising associated with the College of Arts and Sciences, the statement says. It also won’t be printed on diplomas going forward either.

According to the university’s independent, student-run newspaper, The News Record, the university’s Undergraduate Student Government voted to support the name removal in November 2018.

“I think by making these changes, the university is going in the right direction to be inclusive,” grad student Komeshia Robinson told FOX19 NOW.

The sentiment was echoed by other students across campus, though not without nuance.

“The university is recognizing that complicated past and trying to take a more progressive step,” third-year student Spencer Merk said. “I definitely agree with that. But, at the same time, I recognize their obligation to the donations he made.”

The university says it will reassess the McMicken name as it relates to philanthropic purposes going forward.

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