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Committee to Establish Principles on Naming

Dear Johns Hopkins community,

In the summer of 2020, President Daniels and Provost Kumar established a Committee to Establish Principles on Naming, tasked with developing guidance for the difficult decisions about whether and how to change or contextualize the names of existing facilities, professorships, scholarships, fellowships, and programs associated with people whose central legacies are found to conflict with the mission and values of Johns Hopkins University and Medicine. We, the co-chairs of that committee, are writing to update you on our progress to date, and to invite your feedback on our draft set of recommendations, which are now available here.

Since first convening last fall, the committee has engaged in extensive research and consultation with colleagues across the Johns Hopkins institutions and at peer universities that have grappled with naming questions. We are grateful to so many of you for attending our multiple public listening sessions earlier this year, and for many others who invited us to hear from your organizations about their perspectives on the key elements of a fair and thorough process to reexamine named features. The draft recommendations we are sharing today reflect that varied input, and we hope they elicit further feedback from you.

In brief, our committee believes that the process of reviewing named features at Johns Hopkins should not be undertaken lightly. Rather, it should be deliberate and thorough – reflective of the deep study we strive to model as a university and inclusive of the many voices and perspectives that make up our community. Accordingly, our draft report suggests a rigorous process that ensures participation of faculty, staff, student, and community members. It puts forward a set of substantive criteria that we hope will enable those members to examine each name carefully and consistently achieve outcomes that reflect our institution’s history and its inclusive ideals. And it offers an approach to contextualization that we hope will not only enable Johns Hopkins to educate but also creatively advance opportunities for reconciliation.

These are complex and weighty issues, and our committee needs your help to get them right. We are seeking your feedback on our draft recommendations between now and Wednesday, April 28, and hope you will provide it via the form below or by email at namingcommittee@jhu.edu. We will also host a town hall on this draft on Tuesday, April 13, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.; registration details are here.

Thank you again for your engagement so far, and we look forward to hearing from more of you in the coming weeks.

Respectfully,

Anthony Anderson, Vice Chairman of the JHU Board of Trustees and Partner at Thompson Coburn LLP, Washington, DC

Karen Horton, Martin W. Donner Professor and Director, Department of Radiology and Radiological Science at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Lawrence Jackson, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of English, History and Africana Studies and Director of the Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts

Comments and Suggestions for the Committee

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