University of South Carolina Considers Removing J. Marion Sims' Name from Women’s Residence Hall

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tags: slavery, racism, medical history, colleges and universities

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In a letter to students, faculty and staff, University of South Carolina president Bob Caslen said Monday he endorsed a resolution to rename the J. Marion Sims residence hall on the Women’s Quad.

The recommendation from the Presidential Commission on University History will be presented to the Board of Trustees at its meeting this Friday, June 19. 

In the letter, Caslen said:

"I believe we are at a point in our nation’s history where action matters more than words alone. That is why I enthusiastically endorsed the recommendation from the Presidential Commission to rename Sims. This change will require the university to ask the General Assembly for an exemption to the Heritage Act, which forbids renaming of state-owned buildings without a two-thirds vote of the legislature. If approved by the General Assembly, I look forward to sharing with you the process by which a new name will be selected."

Caslen went on to say that students and others have raised concerns for many years about the building bearing the name of J. Marion Sims. 

"As the Commission notes, his legacy is a complex one, but it is without dispute that he performed hundreds of medical experimentations on enslaved African American women," Caslen said. "For this reason, Sims’ name was removed from one of our scholarship programs last year. We are all endowed with human frailties and our products of our time, but the actions that are such a large part of Sims’ legacy are incompatible with respect for human dignity and the values we hold dear as a campus community.

In the letter, Caslen said there are other buildings up for review by the Commission, though he did not name them.

Read entire article at WLTX (SC)

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