Colonials Moniker, Marvin Center Name Committees Begin Work

The committees, which will assess requests for renaming, have confirmed their membership, are beginning to meet and will develop community outreach plans.

August 19, 2020

GW Gate

Special committees with broad representation from the university community have now formed to research and evaluate the renaming requests of the Marvin Center and the Colonials moniker, the university announced Wednesday.

The establishment of the committees, whose membership includes students, faculty, staff and alumni, follows the process recommended by the Naming Task Force and approved by the Board of Trustees in June.

Over the coming months, the committees will meet, research and review historical material, hear GW community input and discuss their renaming requests through the lens of several considerations approved by the board. Each committee has specific considerations to guide its work.

Throughout these processes, the committees will provide opportunities for the GW community to share feedback, and chairs of both committees said that this engagement would be one of the most important components of their work.

"The Naming Task Force of the university Board of Trustees has set forth a framework with clear principles to guide the special committee's work and shape our ultimate recommendation to President LeBlanc," said Roger Fairfax, the Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor of Law, who is chair of the Marvin Center name committee. "I will lead the special committee's work through a process that is marked by fidelity to the guiding principles, including transparency and meaningful outreach to, and engagement with, the university community."

Mary Cheh, the Elyce Zenoff Research Professor of Law and chair of the Colonials moniker committee, echoed those sentiments.

“To fulfill our charge, our committee plans to undertake a thorough review of relevant historical research and conduct a robust and broad outreach effort to hear from students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Ms. Cheh said. “Our committee’s work will be neutral and straight-forward, and we will communicate updates and our findings openly and transparently.”

Both the Special Committee on the Marvin Center Name and Special Committee on the Colonials Moniker now have websites with more information on their membership, processes and feedback forms, and members of the university community can provide input anytime during the process.


Marvin Center Name Feedback

Colonials Moniker Feedback

The committees also will receive the feedback from those who have sent comments previously to the Office of the President, Development and Alumni Relations or through the Name Change Requests website.

When their work is complete, the committees will provide final reports summarizing their work with an unbiased and fair judgment of the renaming request for the consideration of the president and, ultimately, the Board of Trustees. If a name change is recommended to the president, the committees are not charged with exploring or recommending alternative names.