An all-women’s college in Pennsylvania is removing the name of one of its former presidents from the library to “address systemic issues of racial bias” and antisemitism on campus, according to a Tuesday statement.
Bryn Mawr College (BMC) named its campus library after former president M. Carey Thomas in 1907 to memorialize her contributions to education, specifically for women, according to the statement. The college later revealed in 2017 that they were considering removing Thomas’ name due to concerns about her beliefs in racial superiority and antisemitism, and announced Tuesday that BMC had officially removed all mentions of the former college president’s name. (RELATED: ‘Targeted And Unsafe’: Universities Across The Country Are Holding ‘Israel Apartheid Week’)
“Thomas’s passing away elicited tributes from leaders of educational institutions across the U.S., who recognized and praised her significant national impact on higher education for women at both the graduate and undergraduate levels,” the statement read. “However, naming this building after Thomas also functioned as an act of historical erasure. It silenced and erased the experiences of those who had been affected negatively by the racist and anti-Semitic policies that Thomas promulgated as College president and her active, public embrace of eugenics.”
Thomas, while a serious advocate for women’s rights during the suffrage movement, also denied admission to black applicants and refused to hire Jewish faculty, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. During a speech to the 1916 BMC freshman class, Thomas said that she wanted the “supremacy of the white race” to be maintained and believed that educating white women would be the key to accomplishing that goal.
After the 2017 Charlottesville riots, BMC began examining its history of racism and discrimination, according to the statement. In 2018 a committee was formed to look into potentially renaming the library, which was eventually finalized in 2019, and as of Tuesday, the school had officially removed all mentions of Thomas from the library.
“Bryn Mawr now seeks to provide the College community with opportunities for engagement, reflection, and healing and to contribute to efforts to address systemic issues of racial bias on campus,” the statement read. “The acknowledgment of acts of erasure and Thomas’s history are key steps in a larger process of articulating and embracing a fuller sense of the College’s past.”
BMC did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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