As a student at Washington and ***, I could leave my purse anywhere on campus at anytime of the day or night, and feel confident it would be exactly where I left it when I returned. Yet, I couldn’t go through a single day without feeling like an outsider because I was not white. I could not go a single day without thinking “where the hell am I?” Every day I saw racial micro- and macro-aggressions, whether directed at me or someone else. I felt like I was in an alternative universe— the campus was so safe in terms of my property and so friendly in terms of the Speaking Tradition yet sexual assault and racism were so rampant and accepted. Read her full letter.
In June 2020, a group of like-minded alumni, students, and faculty began to advocate for the removal of Robert E. Lee from the name and brand of the university as a first step to improving the stated goals of diversity and inclusion at the University. Lee did not deserve the honor, he did not desire the honor, and, as one of the primary symbols of white supremacy, he is not representative of the University’s values and 21st-century initiatives.
Not Unmindful is a group of alumni, students and faculty from a wide range of eras and backgrounds who are deeply concerned about the future of our beloved school and see its renaming as key to maintaining its elite educational standing and making structural changes there to improve the on-campus experience for all of its students.
This is a focal point for alumni who would like to see Washington & Lee change its name. First, we want the University to change its name, removing Lee and that millstone from around the University’s neck is only the beginning of the work we must do. We must support efforts to address systemic racism and to fortify a community of inclusion and diversity at the University.