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State board tells Patrick Henry Community College to reconsider keeping its name

HENRY COUNTY, VA – Patrick Henry Community College could be getting a new name.

Thursday, Virginia’s State Board of Community Colleges voted unanimously to amend its community college naming policy.

The board’s decisions represent the latest step in a process that began nearly a year ago when it asked local college advisory boards to review the appropriateness of the names of its college, campuses, and facilities.

Patrick Henry served as Virginia’s governor and owned slaves, according to Thomas Kidd’s book “Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots.”

Following the policy change, the state board is asking PHCC’s leaders and the local board to reconsider their previous decision to retain their college’s name.

The new policy states that institutions’ names “should reflect the values of inclusive and accessible education articulated in the VCCS mission statement, with special emphasis on diversity, equity, and opportunity, and be relevant to the students it seeks to serve and to the geography of its service region.”

Following this recommendation, PHCC’s local board chair called four special meetings to discuss the policy change and to discuss amending its recommendation.

The state board carries the sole authority to decide the names of Virginia’s community colleges.

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