UB will be accepting nominations for the renaming of Porter Quadrangle, an Ellicott Complex residence hall, through March 22, President Satish Tripathi announced in an email to the UB community Monday.
Tripathi asked for the names of individuals who have “made exceptional contributions to UB and/or Western New York that have left a positive imprint on our institution and our region, distinguished themselves through exceptional achievements and contributions, and have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to UB’s mission of public service.”
“By honoring individuals whose achievements and contributions embody our university’s core values of personal and professional excellence and service, we reaffirm our commitment to these ideals and their role in guiding our academic enterprise,” Tripathi wrote.
The announcement came after a unanimous UB Council vote in August to rename Porter Quadrangle, among other campus locations, due to their namesakes’ racist beliefs and actions. Despite Buffalo-resident Peter Buell Porter’s achievements as a congressman, U.S. secretary of war, and New York secretary of state, “he owned five enslaved African Americans,” Cory Nealon, director of news content, wrote in a UBNow story.
Porter Quadrangle’s new name will be chosen at a later date, but Putnam Way and Putnam’s Marketplace Eatery — named after James Putnam, a former state senator and UB chancellor who had racist views — were renamed immediately after the UB Council vote. The former was renamed to Mary Talbert Way because “UB leadership and the naming committee felt strongly that the university would continue to honor Mary Talbert’s significant legacy,” Kate McKenna, a university spokeswoman, said in written comments. The latter was renamed to the Union Marketplace Eatery.
The former Millard Fillmore Academic Center was temporarily renamed the Academic Center in the same UB Council vote and is pending a new name.
“University leadership” chose to delay renaming Porter and solicit nominations at a later date because they “wanted to extend the renaming process for Porter Quadrangle to the UB community as part of its commitment to inclusivity,” McKenna said. “Part of the timing is practical as well. The summer months will give the university time to make the change to the physical space and to all marketing materials as well.”
Porter’s new name will be selected from the list submitted by UB community members, McKenna said.
“As long as the nominations meet the criteria set by President Tripathi, a name will be chosen among those submitted,” McKenna said.
According to McKenna, a committee composed of 14 students, faculty and staff members will consider every submission that passes a vetting process.
Once the committee makes its decision, “President Tripathi will present the recommendation and resolution for the renaming to the UB Council,” which will then vote on the resolution, McKenna said.
According to McKenna, the UB Council is expected to vote on and approve the new name at their June meeting.
Grant Ashley is an assistant features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Grant Ashley is an assistant features editor for The Spectrum. He is a political science major and a (mediocre) Spanish minor. He enjoys taking long bike rides and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon.