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History of commemoration

Universities across the country, including VCU, are increasingly engaging with their difficult histories. Shortly after violent events in Charlottesville and around the nation, President Rao charged members of his leadership team with thoughtfully considering how VCU might address similar issues and events. This group has met regularly since Fall 2017 to discuss safety and to consider student, faculty, and curriculum concerns.

One of the key areas of discussion among this team has been how the university will address issues related to symbols of the Confederacy, slavery, white supremacy, and other items of an exclusionary nature that may exist on our campuses.

John Kneebone, chair of the History Department, and Hannah Cameron, a graduate student in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, agreed to chair a committee of faculty members, staff, students, and administrators charged with considering how VCU’s history is connected to those symbols and how we make decisions about when and how to commemorate moving forward. One of the first steps this committee took was to create a comprehensive audit of such symbols, plaques, and statues, prepared by university archivist Jodi Koste.

The committee, which includes representatives from both campuses, has thoughtfully engaged the entire VCU community—including faculty members, staff, students, and alumni—in this conversation about existing symbols and the process for preserving or removing previous symbols of commemoration. These groups include the Council on Inclusive Excellence, Inclusive Learning Council, Faculty and Staff senates, University Council, and Undergraduate and Graduate SGAs.

These small group discussions have helped us prepare for larger, more inclusive sets of conversations scheduled for this fall.

This website serves to keep the community informed as we move forward on this effort to ensure that all voices feel heard, included, and respected, and that our commitments to diversity and inclusion permeate everything we do.

Thank you for your participation in this important discussion. If you would like to leave a comment, make a suggestion, or request more information, you may do so by emailing

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View presentation on VCU buildings, plaques, and places associated with the Confederacy

Read report on VCU buildings, plaques, and places associated with the Confederacy

Email to request more information, leave comments or to make a suggestion.

View graphic version