Phi Beta Cons

What’s the Harm in Renaming Some Campus Buildings?

The big fad among college Social Justice Warriors these days is demanding that buildings be renamed. They’re determined to make sure no structure bears the name of any bad individual, thus supposedly sending the message that he was actually OK. Harvard’s Royall crest had to go because Royall made money in the slave trade and to continue displaying the crest would obviously mean that the slave trade was all right.

In this Washington Examiner piece, Ashe Schow recounts that and several other recent instances. But what’s the harm? Why not give in? Renaming buildings and so forth doesn’t cost much and isn’t it worth buying peace with the SJW faction?

No, she argues: “The protests don’t begin and end with the names of buildings — those are just the simplest demands. Once they get their way on one thing, they’ll focus more on their other demands — which consist mainly of hiring more diverse faculty (I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of these protesters are angling for those jobs) and providing more classes about race. Because nothing will heal racial tension like telling white students they are racist just because of their skin color.”

Right. The protesters love throwing their weight around and will never run out of things to complain about or demand.

Unfortunately, the college president can’t just say, “Why don’t you devote your time to your studies?” because most of these students a majoring in stuff that demands very little time and they’ll get As no matter what.


George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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