MSU’s James Madison college may change name

Michigan State University campus sign, Photo Date: September 25, 2015 / Cropped Photo: Ken Lund / CC BY 2.0 / (MGN)
Michigan State University campus sign, Photo Date: September 25, 2015 / Cropped Photo: Ken Lund / CC BY 2.0 / (MGN)
Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 1:33 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan State University is exploring changing the name of its James Madison College because of concerns over racism connected to it, according to a statement from the university president.

MSU President Samuel Stanley Jr. said Monday there’s a process for renaming facilities on campus.

“I am aware of the interim dean of James Madison College planning for on-going dialogues regarding diversity, equity and inclusion concerns within her college, including the suitability of its name,” Stanley said, referring to Interim Dean Linda Racioppi. “While it is appropriate for the college to discuss diversity concerns, in addition to DEI efforts happening around our full campus, there is an administrative process for any renaming efforts that go beyond one college or unit.”

A statement from Racioppi posted on the JMC website said alumni, students and others have contacted the university to “hold James Madison College accountable for advancing racial equity in the college.”

Racioppi said the college will meet with W.E.B. DuBois Society leadership July 15 to hear about matters surrounding the Black student experience there.

“Finally, after the summer break, we plan to engage in reconsideration of the name of the College,” Racioppi said in the statement. “The latter will need to incorporate the perspectives of students, staff, faculty, and alumni. If these groups should support a name change, we would then proceed through the University governance process.”

The James Madison College, 842 Chestnut Road, East Lansing, specializes in public affairs and public policy programs.

James Madison was the fourth U.S. president, one of the authors of the Federalist Papers and a slaveowner.

Madison also struggled with the concept of slavery during his life, although he owned 36 at the time of his death in 1836.

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