Board of Governors votes for ‘Jenkins Hall’ name to remain

Constructed+in+1937%2C+Jenkins+Hall+is+named+after+General+Albert+Gallatin+Jenkins%2C+a+Confederate+general+and+slave+owner.+In+2018%2C+Marshall+University+established+a+presidential+committee+to+examine+names+of+buildings+across+campus.

Parthenon File Photo

Constructed in 1937, Jenkins Hall is named after General Albert Gallatin Jenkins, a Confederate general and slave owner. In 2018, Marshall University established a presidential committee to examine names of buildings across campus.

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The name of Jenkins Hall will not be changed according to a decision made Thursday by Marshall University’s Board of Governors, during a meeting in the Brad D. Smith Foundation Hall.

The Board of Governors met Thursday to discuss the recommendations of Marshall University’s Presidential Ad Hoc Committee and to try to reach a decision on whether to keep or change the name of Jenkins Hall, a building on Marshall’s campus which houses the College of Education and Professional Development.

The renaming of Jenkins Hall has been a campus-wide conversation since the beginning of the academic year. Students for a Democratic Society sparked the debate in 2018, but the dialogue of renaming the academic building has been ongoing for years.

At the Board of Governor’s meeting, Marshall President Jerry Gilbert delivered the findings of the Presidential Ad Hoc Committee, as well as its process of reaching these possibilities.

“On their own initiative, the committee considered four questions: What recommendations would be least objectionable to most people? What recommendations would be most good for the most people? Who would be the most hurt if the name was changed? Who would be the most hurt if the name was not changed?” Gilbert said. “With those questions in mind, the committee chose not to make a single recommendation to the board, but to make the following recommended options for the Board of Governors to consider.”

Gilbert said these recommendations were as follows: keep the name Jenkins Hall, change the name to “Lab School Building” or change the name to some combined name reflecting both the building’s historic name, Jenkins, and its historic function, “Lab School.”

After Gilbert’s remarks, a motion was made for the board to enter executive session to further deliberate the proposals presented.

At the conclusion of the executive session, the board and others reconvened to vote on the official decision of the board, starting with a motion made by Student Body President Hunter Barclay.

“I make a motion to vote on keeping the name ‘Jenkins Hall,’ but to add a plaque that denounces bigotry, racism and slavery,” Barclay said.

With a vote of nine yeas and seven nays, the motion passed.

An official statement will be released by the Board of Governors detailing their decision on the building and the reasoning behind it.

Trey Delida can be contacted at [email protected]