The Reconciliation: Campus Spaces Task Force was formed by President Mary Dana Hinton in September 2021. The task force and its research into school history and best practices regarding building names and creating inclusive constructed environments was built upon years’ worth of similar research by the Working Group on Slavery and Its Contemporary Legacies. The working group and the task force are both comprised of faculty, alumnae/i, staff, students, and citizens from the historic Hollins community.

The task force was charged with two tasks during the 2021-22 academic year: First, to identify and work from established best practices to determine criteria for evaluating existing campus space names; and second, to then apply those criteria to make a recommendation regarding Tayloe Gymnasium to the Board of Trustees and the president (PDF also available in sidebar).

The task force approached the work of crafting a list of criteria and essential questions (PDF also available in sidebar) that could guide a decision on the gymnasium as well as future considerations regarding naming practices on campus, basing this work on best practices from schools around the country including Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Cincinnati.

The primary essential question that will guide Hollins in all renaming evaluations is: Does honoring the namesake’s legacy impede the university’s ability to pursue its mission going forward? 

The other essential questions in the evaluation process are:

  • What course of action is being recommended?
  • What is the building’s function?
  • What was the namesake’s principal legacy?
  • What was the namesake’s relationship with the university?
  • What was the original naming decision?
  • How will we preserve the historical record and educate our community?

As noted in the recommendation, the 2021-22 task force was not charged with the renaming process. That process will be announced and begin in the fall of 2022. Updates will be made to this page in that regard and in the future if and when other space names are evaluated.

The members of the task force welcome your thoughts, and you can reach the committee at reconciliation@hollins.edu.

Reconciliation: Campus Spaces Task Force Members – 2021-22
  • Jeri Suarez, cochair, associate vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Maryke Barber, cochair, information literacy, outreach and arts liaison librarian
  • Ashleigh Breske, assistant professor of political science
  • Syreeta Combs-Cannaday ’02
  • Billy Faires, executive director, marketing and communications
  • Makda Kalayu ’23
  • Suzy Mink, senior philanthropic advisor
  • China Moore ’23
  • Robert Sweetenberg, groundskeeper
    Shardei Sudler ’21
  • Nakeshia Williams, vice president for student success, well-being, and belonging

During the Spring 2021 semester, multiple listening sessions led by the Working Group on Slavery and Its Contemporary Legacies were held on the topic of reconsidering names of campus spaces. Following this work, the Reconciliation: Campus Spaces Task Force was appointed by President Hinton in September 2021. With membership consisting of students, staff, faculty, and alumnae/i, the task force was charged with two tasks:

  • Work from established best practices to determine criteria for evaluating existing campus space names;
  • Apply those criteria to make a recommendation regarding Tayloe Gymnasium to the Hollins Board of Trustees and to President Hinton.

The task force was not charged with determining new naming possibilities for Tayloe Gymnasium.

Supporting Documents

Criteria for Evaluating Existing Space Names at Hollins University (PDF)

Recommendation Regarding the Name of Tayloe Gymnasium (PDF)

Task Force Documents

In the interest of providing the Hollins community insight in this process, documents from task force meetings are available to members of the Hollins campus community in a folder in OneDrive. The folder includes task force meeting minutes and research notes.

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