The University of Rochester is joining the ranks of colleges removing the names of people with racist backgrounds from campus buildings in the wake of protests following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.
The private college in western New York stripped the name of its founder, George Hoyt Whipple, from public spaces on campus this week, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported Wednesday.
The action was one of several taken in response to a list of demands presented by the student-led chapter of White Coats for Black Lives, which has rallied outside the university’s medical school on consecutive Fridays. The list of 40 demands included free health care services, anti-racism tenets in the curriculum and disarming and defunding university police.
“I agree that actions speak louder than words, and commit to driving positive changes as rapidly as possible,” Dr. Mark Taubman, dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, wrote in a letter to student activists.
Whipple was a Nobel laureate and first dean of the medical school who resisted pressure to admit black students. His former office at the George Hoyt Whipple Museum will be emptied and repurposed as a multicultural space.
Taubman also announced creation of two full scholarships for black students and pledged to work to produce a comprehensive anti-racism plan by this fall.
There was no immediate response from the student activist group.
Alabama State University recently announced it will remove the names of people with racist backgrounds from campus buildings. And the president of the University of South Carolina wants lawmakers to let the school strip the name of J. Marion Sims from a women’s dorm, saying he gained the title “father of modern gynecology” by performing unethical medical experiments on slaves.