Georgetown University will rename two building on campus that honor former presidents who organized the sale of slaves to a Louisiana plantation to help pay off the school’s debt.
Mulledy Hall, a student dormitory that opened this year, was named for former university president Rev. Thomas F. Mulledy, who organized the sale of 272 Jesuit-owned slaves to a plantation owner in Louisiana in 1838. When Georgetown reopened the newly renovated building, current university President John J. DeGioia established a Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, acknowledging the school’s history with slavery and Mulledy Hall.
“Though Fr. Mulledy contributed much to our University, his actions represent a difficult past that is contrary to the values and mission of our University—a mission that we affirm and seek to strengthen in our examination of this history and its impact on our current moment,” DeGioia said in a statement announcing the new Mulledy Hall dormitory.
McSherry Hall was named for another university president who served as an adviser over the sale of slaves in 1838, according to the Washington Post.
Students at Georgetown University have been protesting the school’s decision to keep Mulledy’s name on the building. Students staged sit-ins at the president’s office and called for a campus discussion about race, according to Slate.
“We’re in a climate now where students on campus are not allowing stuff to just fly anymore,” Georgetown senior Queen Adesuyi, one of the protest’s organizers, told Slate. “We’re acting in solidarity with other black students on other campuses that have to deal with the same issues.”
DeGoia on Saturday announced that both of the buildings would be renamed to remove the references to the sale of slaves. The school has not yet chosen permanent names, but for now Mulledy Hall will be called Freedom Hall, and McSherry Hall will be named Remembrance Hall, according to the Washington Post.