In July, the State Board of Virginia’s Community Colleges resolved that all 23 community colleges in the Commonwealth should review their names for appropriateness. In response to this mandate, PHCC’s College Board has been conducting a review for the past three months.
Now, PHCC is looking to the community for another significant element in determining appropriateness. Officials have stressed that the opinions of PHCC’s students, alumni, and surrounding community should play a large part in shaping the college’s response to the State Board.
Over the next two weeks, PHCC is requesting feedback from anyone who would like to share their thoughts and feelings about the name Patrick Henry Community College or any of the names of PHCC’s facilities. This feedback will guide PHCC’s report to the State Board of Virginia’s Community Colleges. To provide feedback to the college, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voice mail at 276-299-0640.
Janet Copenhaver, chairman of PHCC’s College Board is leading the review process.
“We are aiming to provide the State Board with an accurate assessment of the appropriateness of every name that we have been asked to review. Ultimately, though, PHCC’s mission and purpose are to serve the local community. Therefore, we will rely heavily on the community’s perspective to inform our response,” Copenhaver said.
In a meeting Monday, PHCC’s college board heard reports from the committees tasked with conducting the reviews of the college name and the college’s named buildings and facilities. The committees have proposed that the report to the State Board will include a recommendation to remove the Patriot mascot and a request that college officials be allowed to suggest a new name if the state deems a new name is necessary. The College Board will vote on these recommendations at their next meeting. Once approved, the report will be sent to the State Board in Richmond for their consideration.
“I am very pleased with the work of the committees so far,” said Copenhaver. “The review process has included a historic review, a cultural review, a philanthropic impact review, and a financial analysis. Now, the public feedback component will underscore everything. In all that we are doing, our top priority is the success of our students and our community.”
PHCC’s President Dr. Angeline Godwin said, “we need to hear from our community. What our students, our alumni, and our supporters think of our names, to me, determines how appropriate these names really are. Since all power to retain or change the name rests with the State Board, we want to make sure that the report we are submitting clearly reflects the heart of this community.”
Ultimately, the decision to change the name of the college rests with the State Board of Community Colleges.
Once the review is submitted, the state board will assess the information to determine whether a change will be necessary. Only the state board has the authority to change a community college’s name. The college invites anyone who would like to share comments or feedback regarding this review process to email email@example.com or leave a message at 276-299-0640.
Those providing feedback should be aware that because PHCC is a public institution, all comments submitted to the college are subject to Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act. As such, PHCC cannot promise nondisclosure for any comments nor anonymity for any commenters. The college requests that students who provide feedback should identify themselves as students to help the college catalog the feedback appropriately.