Georgetown University has decided to rename two buildings named after slaveowners, following protest from students calling for increased awareness on the university’s racial history.
Mulledy Hall and McSherry Hall were both named for school presidents, Thomas F. Mulledy and William McSherry, who orchestrated the sale of slaves to help pay off the university’s debt in the 1830s.
A new student dormitory, Mulledy Hall will have the interim name of Freedom Hall while McSherry Hall, which houses a meditation center, will become Remembrance Hall.
In September, University President John. J. DeGioia selected a 16-member pabel of admin, students, and faculty to form the Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation. This group was responsible for the name change proposal. They will continue to work on how to adequately address the university’s role in slavery in the states.
In a letter e-mailed to the Georgetown community this past weekend, DeGioia wrote, “As a university we are a place where conversations are convened and dialogue is encouraged, even on topics that may be difficult.”
This decision is also in light of growing tension across the country as students at various universities protest in solidarity with students at Mizzou and Yale over administrations failure to address racism on their campuses. A group of 250 students gathered on Georgetown’s campus to show their support for the students.