Marshall University to remove the name of a building named after Confederate Army general

West Virginia

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — The Marshall University Board of Governors this morning voted unanimously to remove the name “Jenkins Hall” from a building on its Huntington campus.

In 1937, the university’s Jenkins Hall was named after Albert Gallatin Jenkins; a U.S. Confederate General who lived in Cabell County, now buried in Huntington.

Previously, students began raising concerns regarding the building’s name and addressed it to university faculty.

Board members issued the following statement after the vote:

“The Marshall University Board of Governors voted today to remove the name ‘Jenkins Hall’ from the Education Building. Upon the recommendation of President Jerome A. Gilbert, the board took this action to serve the university’s best interests.

The board considered this issue last year and decided to allow the name to remain intact, while also reinforcing the university’s commitment to the principles of diversity and the equal treatment of all people. A statement released on behalf of the board at that time read, ‘Marshall University will constantly confront and challenge bigotry, intolerance and unwarranted discrimination in all of their manifestations.’

Our board reaffirmed that commitment today by voting, not to erase history, but simply to no longer honor a man whose accomplishments do not provide the university with enduring value.

Removing the name will allow the board at a future date to honor someone who has made a significant and far-reaching impact on Marshall University through extraordinary public service, service to the university, or a major monetary gift.

The Board of Governors has carefully considered the name of every other campus building and concluded that this is the final step in a thoughtful, university-wide effort to make sure the people we honor represent the ideals of equality and justice embodied by Chief Justice John Marshall.”

Marshall University Board of Governors

University officials said the building will be known as the Education Building for the time being.

The sign from Jenkins Hall has already been removed.

The sign outside of the former Jenkins Hall at Marshall University has been removed. WOWK 13 News/Natalie Wadas

Ernest Blevins, the Commander of the Robert S. Garnett Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, said Jenkins has a connection to Marshall University rather than a namesake with no attachment. 

“Monuments are stone bookmarks.  They prompt you by reminding you of past events.  They are meant for you to learn your history.  After seeing one, you go look up something about the person, place, event, that it memorializes.  Then you learn your history.”

Ernest Blevins, the Commander of the Robert S. Garnett Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans

The decision comes the morning after the Kanawha County Board of Education voted unanimously to change the name of Stonewall Jackson middle school on July 6, 2020.

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