Virginia Peninsula Community College (VPCC) has stirred up a wave of criticism by continuing its mission to be “more inclusive” by erasing Revolutionary War-era figures from campus.
This week, the college announced that it would be changing the names of two buildings connected and functioning as one- George Wythe Hall and Corbin Griffin Hall- to Kecoughtan Hall, a notable tribute to the early settlers of the land that VPCC’s Hampton campus is located on.
Despite the school following the process of gathering feedback from faculty, student government, and others, there is vocal opposition to the changes due to the history of the men whose names adorned the buildings.
George Wythe, one of the Founding Fathers and signers of the Declaration of Independence served as one of Virginia’s delegates to the Continental Congress, professor of law at the College of William and Mary, and as a member of the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Though he owned slaves, Wythe was recognized for his efforts to free them, making a ruling in a case of a Quaker landowner’s will.
Dr. Corbin Griffin also played a vitally important part in American history as a surgeon for Virginia’s Revolutionary War soldiers. Griffin is noted to have been a part of the Virginia state senate as well.
This isn’t the first time the college has sought to make changes in order to be more “welcoming and inclusive”, either. VPCC was previously named Thomas Nelson Community College in honor of a Revolutionary War hero and signer of the Declaration of Independence. His name was removed for similar reasons as the two aforementioned figures. While in Congress, he backed Virginia’s forces against the British and eventually became the state’s governor.
The gradual process of putting up signs in honor of the Kecoughtan tribe has yet to begin, and those opposed to the changes have yet to make their grievances heard. However, it’s clear that VPCC is deadset on erasing the tumultuous past of Revolutionary War-era figures from their campus in an effort to be more “inclusive”. It’s a controversial move that no doubt won’t be the last in their mission.