A group led by alumni of Thomas Nelson Community College, the Turn the Tide Committee, is circulating a petition calling on Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin to stop Thomas Nelson and other community colleges from changing their names.
The colleges—originally known as Thomas Nelson, John Tyler, Patrick Henry and Dabney S. Lancaster—were named after public figures who owned slaves or promoted racist policies such as school segregation.
“On behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia, who elected you to ‘Roll-Back’ the dangerous and wrong ideas commonly called ‘Critical Race Theory,’ we offer our sincere petition: We ask you to allow the people of Virginia to decide renaming Thomas Nelson, John Tyler, Patrick Henry, Lord Fairfax and Dabney’s Community Colleges,” the petition reads.
A press release from the Turn the Tide Committee said, in addition to the petition, an attorney has sued the State Board of Community Colleges on behalf of a group of citizens in Shenandoah County to halt the name changes.
All the institutions have already chosen new titles, according to their websites. The Virginia State Board of Community Colleges approved name changes last year for Lord Fairfax to Laurel Ridge Community College, John Tyler to Brightpoint Community College, Patrick Henry to Patrick & Henry Community College, Dabney S. Lancaster to Mountain Gateway Community College, and Thomas Nelson to Virginia Peninsula Community College.