The SUNY Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Wednesday, March 20, in favor of a resolution to remove and replace the names of six SUNY New Paltz buildings named for original Huguenot patentees of the village of New Paltz.
The impetus behind the name change was the historical fact that the namesake families owned slaves.
The new building names, as selected by the SUNY New Paltz College Council at their March 6 meeting, pay homage to local geographic features. They will be assigned to the campus buildings to mirror their actual locations – for instance, Lefevre Hall, the eastern-most of the buildings, will become Shawangunk Hall, because the Shawangunk Ridge is the eastern-most of these features.
- Bevier Hall will become Minnewaska Hall
- Crispell Hall will become Ashokan Hall
- Deyo Hall will become Awosting Hall
- Dubois Hall will become Mohonk Hall
- Lefevre Hall will become Shawangunk Hall
- Hasbrouck Dining Hall will become Peregrine Dining Hall
The Hasbrouck Complex, which consists of all six buildings, will become the Peregrine Complex.
The SUNY Board of Trustees is the governing body of the State University of New York. Its vote in favor of this resolution is the final approval needed for the renaming of these buildings to move forward.
“We are pleased to approve the decision of the New Paltz community, which recognizes SUNY’s commitment to providing a welcoming educational environment that embraces our diversity,” said SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall. “President [Donald P.] Christian is to be applauded for his leadership on bringing together the campus and community to question the historic names on these residence halls and select new names that best respect local culture.”
“Student government, faculty governance, administrators, the Diversity & Inclusion Council, College Council members and Huguenot descendants engaged each other in one of the most rewarding examples of shared governance I’ve seen,” said President Christian. “Our students were inspired to be part of this process, proud to be part of a campus that was willing to take on such a thorny issue, and learned much about how change can happen.”
The current names will remain on the buildings through the end of the summer to ensure smooth and safe day-to-day functioning during the remainder of spring semester and new student orientations that occur over the summer.
The new names will be effective at the start of the fall 2019 semester.
The College is also moving ahead with other recommendations of the Diversity and Inclusion Council. A working group of students, faculty and staff is developing concepts for a contemplative space and other ways to present a more complete and honest history of the campus and surrounding community for future students and visitors.
“That includes the history and lasting impacts of slavery, especially northern slavery; the contributions of enslaved Africans and their descendants; the history and legacy of indigenous people before and after European settlement; and the many positive contributions of Huguenot descendants to civic and educational life in New Paltz and beyond,” President Christian said.