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Old 10-07-2018, 06:20 PM
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Default Bryn Mawr Students Protest Racist Former President's Name on Building


Bryn Mawr Students Protest Racist Former President's Name on Building
M. Carey Thomas, second president of Bryn Mawr College, was a known racist, eugenicist, and anti-Semite.
By Noah Caruso
Published at 4:54 PM EDT on Oct 6, 2018 | Updated 5 hours ago

A tribute to Bryn Mawr College's controversial former president sparked outrage Saturday from some students, who called the decision to retain her name on the side of a building a "blatant disregard for students of color."

M. Carey Thomas served as president from 1894 to 1922. While she fought for women's right to vote, she also espoused racist and anti-Semitic views, according to historical accounts.

In August, the board of trustees decided to keep her name chiseled on the side of what is now called Old Library.

But students on Saturday decried the decision, arguing that retaining Thomas' name, even in stone, shows a lack of respect for students "most affected by the continued legacy of racism and anti-Semitism on campus."

The board responsible for keeping Thomas' name on the building, which now holds faculty offices and reading rooms, issued a six-page letter over the summer, stressing the former president's contribution to female education.

In a statement, students said they will continue to peacefully demonstrate the use of her name and disrupt school events until the board addresses their list of demands:

“Bryn Mawr students are demanding that the Board acknowledges and formally denounces Thomas’ racist and anti-Semitic past; formally apologies to current students and alumnae/i for the harm that was caused in continuing to display her name on a monument in her honor; provide materials in support for engagement with Thomas’ history in research funds and campus markers and historical displays; discuss clearly and purposefully and engage with Thomas and her history during orientation for new community members; display a plaque on the building itself that explains Thomas’ racist and anti-Semitic beliefs, stating that they were wrong in her time and wrong now and that they no longer represent the values of the institution," protesters said in a statement issued over the summer.

Students at Bryn Mawr College have had a history of taking part in national protest campaigns, concerning statues of white supremacy, decolonizing academia, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
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