Members of the Virginia State Board of Community Colleges have received a letter from the Patrick Henry Community College Foundation asserting that the school’s name should not be changed other than adding a hyphen.
The state board so far has not responded.
The letter from the PHCC Foundation was presented to the PHCC College Board during a special called board meeting Tuesday and forwarded to the State Board on Wednesday.
“As I understand it, the Board received the letter and will address the matter at their next scheduled meeting in July,” Jeff Kraus, spokesperson for the State Board, wrote by email.
Last year, Virginia’s State Board for Community Colleges asked Virginia’s 23 community colleges to analyze the appropriateness of their names.
PHCC’s board sent in its recommendation to retain the name as it was, after initially considering adding a hyphen to indicate the school is named after the two counties it serves rather than the historical figure, who had kept slaves.
In May, the State Board rejected that recommendation and disallowed the names to continue for two other community colleges as well. The State Board also passed a requirement that each school’s name should represent diversity and inclusion.
PHCC’s College Board has had three special called meetings and will hold a fourth on Monday for considering potential new names.
During Monday’s meeting, the board is expected to prepare a short list of preferred potential names to present to the State Board.
In the meantime, the College Board is continuing to review the potential names that were submitted through an anonymous survey. More than 800 suggestions, many of them duplicates, were received.
“The College Board still intends to provide the State Board with a short list of names selected from the community’s submissions,” college spokesperson Amanda Broome wrote by email.
The board had reviewed providing the hyphenated name to the state when first asked, but in December, after hearing from the public, the board changed its mind and recommended the status quo.
Holly Kozelsky reports for the Martinsville Bulletin. She can be reached at email@example.com