University naming review procedure
Diversity and inclusion, as well as integrity, transparency, and trust, are essential to Ohio State's excellence. To live up to these ideals, the university must be willing to examine its practices and standards, even longstanding ones, to ensure that they align with its values. This commitment to reflection is broad and includes considering the names associated with university spaces and entities.
Ohio State has developed a procedure for formally reviewing requests to remove the names associated with institutional spaces and entities. This procedure, developed in partnership with the Board of Trustees, is set forth below, and allows current Ohio State students, faculty and staff, as well as alumni, to submit requests for the review of university space and entity names.
Requests to review a space or entity name will follow a five-step process. Once submitted, requests that contain all required information will be considered as follows:
- A Standing Advisory Committee for the Review of University Space and Entity Names (Committee) will conduct an initial review to determine whether the request provides substantial evidence of misconduct or other inappropriate behavior harmful to Ohio State’s reputation for excellence and its values of integrity and inclusiveness. Based on the initial review, the Committee will issue a recommendation to the Provost as to whether further consideration should occur.
- The Provost will review the Committee recommendation and determine whether to advance the request for further review, or deny it such that no further action is taken.
- If the request is advanced, the Committee will conduct a thorough review of all facts surrounding the name and evaluate how those facts inform a recommendation as to whether to make a change based on the reasons set forth by the requestor. Ultimately, the Committee will determine whether the name at issue should be removed, some other action should be taken, or no action should be taken, and will issue a recommendation to the President.
- The President will review the Committee recommendation in consultation with the Provost and other officials as appropriate, and determine whether to remove the name, take some other action, or take no action. The President’s decision is final, except that if the President decides to remove a name or otherwise modify it, the matter must be advanced to the Board of Trustees for approval.
- The Board of Trustees has the final authority to remove or modify a name.
Removing a naming designation is a serious step that will only occur under exceptional and narrow circumstances.
For a request to be valid and eligible for Committee review, the requestor must be either a current Ohio State faculty member, staff member, or student, or an alumnus, and must identify themselves; anonymous requests are not permitted. Requests must provide substantial evidence of misconduct or other inappropriate behavior by the individual or entity at issue and demonstrate that that conduct or behavior is harmful to Ohio State’s reputation for excellence and its values of integrity and inclusiveness. Only reasons set forth by the requestor will be considered at each stage of the process to support a name removal, and requestors bear the burden of providing full, accurate and convincing information as to why the name should be removed in submitting their request. Requestors are responsible for thoroughly documenting the sources used to support their request and explaining why those sources are reliable. Requestors shall complete the form linked below to provide this information, and may likewise submit additional documents to accompany the request and supplement the information provided on the form.
In completing the request form, requestors must specifically meet these duties in the course of providing the following information:
- Name and affiliation with Ohio State, including contact information.
- The space/entity name requested to be reviewed for review.
- Why was the building named after this person? Was the name honorific or in recognition of a philanthropic gift (donation)? If it was honorific, briefly describe the honoree’s significant contributions to Ohio State.
- Why is the legacy of the namesake fundamentally at odds with the principles guiding the campus today? That is, explain why the legacy’s effects outweigh the individual’s contributions. What substantial evidence is there to support this claim?
- What is the likely impact on members of the university community if the name is retained and/or removed?
- Any other relevant information or arguments that should be considered by the advisory committee.
If a request is rejected or a decision is made not to change the name at issue for the reason(s) provided by the requestor, it does not preclude additional requests regarding the same name from being submitted. However, the university will not reconsider a request based on the same reason(s) already provided absent substantial new evidence that justifies a new review.
The Committee will not review requests unless they fully meet all of the criteria identified by the Board of Trustees, as determined by the Committee co-chairs. The Committee co-chairs will determine if the form has been completed sufficiently so as to warrant review under the above process. Requestors will be notified if their request does not include sufficient information to warrant review and will be afforded an opportunity to resubmit with appropriate information.
- John Brooke, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of History and Warner Woodring Chair in American History, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences
- Molly Ranz Calhoun, President and CEO, The Ohio State University Alumni Association
- Tamar Chute, Professor and University Archivist, University Libraries
- Jon Fritz, Delegate, Council of Graduate Students
- Russell Hassan, Ambassador Milton A. and Roslyn Z. Wolf Chair in Public and International Affairs, John Glenn College of Public Affairs
- Tanisha Jenkins, Associate Vice Provost for Belonging and Inclusion, Office of Student Life
- Benjamin Kanzeg, Associate Vice President and Executive Director of Policy, Office of Government Affairs
- Brandon Lester, Senior Associate General Counsel, Office of Legal Affairs (committee co-chair)
- Kelsey Lowman, Chair of the University Senate Council on Student Affairs, Undergraduate Student Government
- Brian Mittendorf, Fisher Designated Professor of Accounting, Fisher College of Business
- Jody Patterson, Associate Professor, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Chair, Department of History of Art
- Ryan Schmiesing, Senior Vice Provost for External Engagement, Office of Academic Affairs
- Yolanda Zepeda, Interim Vice Provost, Office of Diversity and Inclusion (committee co-chair)