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Virginia Tech again exploring process that could rename Lee Hall

President Sands announced he’s asked for naming to be reviewed again

Lee Hall on Virginia Tech's campus
Lee Hall on Virginia Tech's campus (Virginia Tech)

BLACKSBURG, Va. – A building on Virginia Tech’s campus could have a new name.

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands announced Monday that he’s asking for a review of the name of Lee Hall.

The building, which opened in 1966, is named for Claudius Lee, and serves as a residence hall that houses 811 students, according to the university.

Lee was an 1896 alumnus whose affiliation with Blacksburg College began in 1893 and ended in 1936.

A few days ago, a petition was started to have the name changed in light of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announcing the decision to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee from Richmond.

That petition has now been signed by nearly 10,000 people.

This isn’t the first time the building has been a source of controversy.

According to the university, during the 125th anniversary of Virginia Tech, students in a history class came across a page in the 1896 yearbook that listed Lee as a leader in the campus chapter of the KKK.

That claim was investigated in 1997 and it was determined that there was the potential that the organization was a hoax and that the hall name would not be changed.

The issue again resurfaced in 2004.

At that time, a set of recommendations by The Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity was approved in February 2005 and adopted by Tech. The recommendations called for broader education on the subject of Claudius Lee and also for strengthening diversity efforts across the university.

As part of the process this time around, Sands has asked the Council on Virginia Tech History to examine this issue and make a recommendation.

From there, that recommendation will be reviewed by the Commemorative Tributes Committee, and then looked at by Sands, who would then be able to present a resolution to the university’s Board of Visitors.

You can read Sands full letter here.

About the Author:

Jeff Williamson arrived at WSLS 10 in March 2016.