Skip to main content


  • Smith College is committed to creating an inclusive, equitable and accessible educational community where all members are welcomed, respected and valued. That commitment to inclusion extends to the built environment of the campus.  
  • We should strive to ensure that present-day users of campus buildings feel welcome studying, working and/or living in them.
  • The decision to rename a building should be undertaken with great care and thoughtful discernment of verifiable actions taken by the namesake. 
  • It is important to research the totality and trajectory of the namesake’s actions and expressed beliefs. 
  • Renaming should not result in erasing or sanitizing institutional history; rather, we should make explicit and seek to address the complex and sometimes problematic nature of our growth as an institution.
  • Consideration of renaming is an opportunity for discourse, learning and community engagement.


  • When concern about a namesake arises, the President may task the College Archivist with conducting preliminary research to be reviewed by relevant President's team members to determine whether a committee should be convened to discuss potential renaming.
  • If the President, in consultation with the President's team, determines that the preliminary research reveals sufficient evidence to warrant a full consideration, relevant President's team members will convene an ad hoc committee appointed by the President to undertake this work. 
  • The committee will include students, staff and faculty chosen in collaboration with relevant governing groups. Normally, the committee will include the College Archivist, as well as representatives associated with the building under consideration–e.g., a house resident or a department member.
  • The committee will
    • Conduct or commission substantive and extensive research into the namesake; the quality of the research must adhere to the highest academic standards 
    • Undertake a holistic discussion guided by the principles stated above
    • Solicit input from all members of the Smith community
    • Make a recommendation to the President, articulated in light of the principles. 
  • The President will bring the committee’s recommendation to the Smith College Board of Trustees, which holds ultimate authority for the naming and renaming of buildings.