University of Cincinnati Trustees Unanimously Vote to Remove School’s Campus Ties to Founder

University of Cincinnati trustees have unanimously voted to rename all campus spaces connected to its founder Charles McMicken, who was a slave owner who fathered children with one, and possibly two, enslaved women, The Enquirer reported.

The recommendation came from UC President Dr. Neville Pinto. In 2019, Pinto recommended removing McMicken’s name from the College of Arts and Sciences, which the board approved unanimously. And now, McMicken’s name will be removed from the rest of UC’s campus. McMicken Hall will become Arts & Sciences Hall; McMicken Commons will become Bearcats Commons; McMicken Circle will become University Circle; and Mick & Mack’s Contemporary Café will become Bearcats Café. 

The board of trustees also approved upgrading university digital displays “to better reflect McMicken’s legacy and the university’s complex historical connection to him.”

“The prominence of McMicken’s name on campus, and the symbolism of exclusion it represents, is holding us back from creating and sustaining a full sense of belonging for all,” Pinto said Tuesday, reading from his recommendation.

UC student body president Isaac Smitherman said that Tuesday’s decision to remove McMicken’s tie to UC was a step in the right direction, but that it will take additional work and collaboration with university leaders to ensure all students feel welcomed and supported.


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