Columbia University recently announced that its medical school will change the name of a residential building due to the namesake’s slave ownership. The building was named for Samuel Bard, the founder of Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons who also served as George Washington’s doctor. The move comes shortly after the school eliminated a professorship also named in Bard’s honor.
According to a report by the College Fix, Columbia University announced recently that it will rename Bard Hall, a residence hall for medical students that was named after the medical school’s founder, Samuel Bard. The name was removed over concerns about Bard’s ownership of slaves in the late 1700s.
In a statement, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger announced the administration’s decision to remove references to Bard. Bollinger claimed that Bard owned at least three slaves in 1790. In 1776, Bard reportedly promised a reward for the return of a fugitive slave.
“Bard was a significant physician in the 18th century, a pioneer in obstetrics and treating diphtheria, who served as George Washington’s doctor,” Bollinger wrote. “He also owned slaves (the country’s first census in 1790 lists their number as three). We know about at least one instance, in 1776, in which he advertised, with a promised reward, for the return of a fugitive slave.”
“Of course, we cannot, indeed should not, erase Samuel Bard’s contributions to the medical school. But we must not recall this history without also recognizing the reason for our decision to rename Bard Hall,” Bollinger finished. “As the fall term advances, I will share how we will honor this building with a name that represents our University’s values.”
The decision came in response to a petition signed by over 1,000 members of the community that called on administrators to end references to Bard. “No University can claim it values Black lives while forcing Black students to live in a building named for a slaveowner,” the petition read.
The university also announced at the beginning of September that a professorship named after Bard will be “eliminated.”
Breitbart News reported in May 2017 that the University of Oregon spent $23,000 to rename buildings on campus that students found objectionable. Dunn Hall, for example, was renamed after students discovered that it was named after a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Stay tuned to Breitbart News for more updates on this story.