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Towson Removes Slave Owner Names From Dormitories

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Towson University has removed the names of two Maryland slave owners from its dormitories. The move comes after the University System of Maryland Board of Regents unanimously approved the decision last month.

The 10-member committee comprising students, faculty, and staff from Towson agreed to rename Paca House and Carroll Hall as per the university’s naming guidelines.

In the 18th century, Paca and Carroll each owned between 100 and 500 enslaved people — making them two of the largest slave owners in Maryland, the renaming committee said in January.

“While the owning of enslaved people was legal in the colony and the state of Maryland during both Paca’s and Carroll’s lives, there were many, even among the slaveholding elite, who had begun to express doubts about the morality of slaveholding during that era,” Towson University President Kim Schatzel wrote.

Renaming Process

The renaming process will begin in the fall. The university’s three shared governance bodies — the Academic Senate, Staff Senate, and Student Government Association — will decide on the new designations for the buildings.

Over the years, several student groups have sought to change the names of the buildings. The Tigers for Justice recently garnered nearly 7,000 signatures on a petition demanding the university rename the dorms.

“How can we ask our students to accept living and sleeping in a residence hall that, as one student told me, ‘was named after a man that enslaved my ancestors and tortured them as part of his daily life?” Schatzel said.

The dorms will be renamed after the state landmarks, eminent Marylanders, alumni, or faculty.

Until the committee comes up with new names, the dorm buildings will be identified as “West Village 1” and “West Village 2.”

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