Bethany College removes Robert Byrd's name from health center

Senator Robert Byrd, photo credit: US Senate
Senator Robert Byrd, photo credit: US Senate(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 18, 2020 at 10:29 AM EDT
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Robert C. Byrd's name has been removed from the Bethany College Health Center.

The move was prompted by the ongoing national conversations about race relations in America.

"The last few weeks, and well before the conversations and calls for change took hold, we recognized as a campus that the name of our Robert C. Byrd Health Center created divisiveness and pain for members of Bethany community, both past and present."

According to a letter, posted on the college's website, from President Tamara Rodenberg, Ph.D., the move is "to demonstrate Bethany College’s capacity to change, to listen, and to learn."

Byrd, a late U.S. senator from West Virginia, was a member of Klu Klux Klan. He later renounced the group and apologized multiple times for his involvement.

"We respect the Byrd family name, but we can no longer let it represent how we lead in today’s world. We will honor our past, but we must propel the College into a new shared future. And so from this point forward, a new chapter begins on our campus, one informed by more diverse voices, one predicated on mutual respect and human value, and one that aims to unite through words, actions and hope," Dr. Rodenberg wrote.

Bethany College is located in West Virginia's northern panhandle.

You can read the letter by clicking on the related link to the right of this story.