Maryland University System Grants TU Permission to Name West Village 1.2 After Its First Black Graduates


Photo: Meghan Hudson/The tower of light

By: Gabriel Donahue, deputy editor -in -chief

The University of Towson announced Friday that the two university residences formerly named after former slave owners, West Village 1 and 2, will become Harris and Barnes Halls next fall to honor the first black graduates of the ‘ university, Marvis E. Barnes and Myra A. Harris.

The announcement comes after USM’s board of directors voted on Friday to approve President Kim Schatzel’s request to change the names.

“I never imagined something like this would happen,” Harris said in a press release.

Echoing Schatzel, USM Chancellor Jay Perman called the women brave.

“We owe Mrs Barnes and Mrs Harris an enormous debt of gratitude – we everything making and naming these buildings for these women, an indelible part of TU history, is a great way to start paying,” Perman said.

West Village 1 will become Harris Hall and West Village 2, Barnes Hall, the University announced. The buildings will have an official ribbon-cutting ceremony during the fall semester of 2022.

The residences were originally named Carroll Hall and Paca House, after Maryland natives and slave owners William Paca and Charles Carroll.

The University began considering an official name change in June 2020 after pressure from the TU community and an official request from the Student Government Association, The tower of light reported.

USM granted TU permission to move forward with the name change process in June 2021 after the 10-person naming committee completed its review of the original names, The Baltimore Sun reported. The buildings were later stripped of their names and temporarily labeled West Village 1 and 2.

“I am grateful for the committee’s dedication to reaching a unanimous recommendation to the board, and I thank our regents for accepting this recommendation today,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Vernon Hurte, who led the nominating committee. , said in the press release.

Correction: This article previously stated that West Village 2 was originally named after John Carroll. That’s wrong, it was Charles Carroll. The story has been updated to reflect the correct name.

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