It is time for Washington and Lee University to drop both George Washington and Robert E. Lee from the University name. The predominantly White faculty at Washington and Lee recently announced that it will petition the Board of Trustees to remove Lee from the University name. This is the first time in Washington and Lee’s history that the faculty has drafted such a petition. It is worth exploring why the faculty has decided to make a collective statement on Lee now and why the faculty has not included a demand to drop Washington in their petition. The answer is simple—it is no longer acceptable, profitable, or convenient to be associated with Lee but it is for Washington. At least for now.
Washington and Lee Law Review - Name Changes
by Leah D. Williams
Since the broadcast killing of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers on May 25, all levels of government, and institutions of every kind, have scrambled with breakneck speed to confront their own ties to America’s most deeply entrenched demons: White supremacy and systematic racism. Washington and Lee has certainly not been exempt from this reckoning. A majority of its faculty and student body have already passed resolutions calling for the removal of Robert E. Lee’s name from the university. As a direct descendent of those enslaved by the school, I commend these resolutions; yet, I strongly offer that a name change may be a start, but it is not enough to reconcile the sins of the past.