In response to a student-led initiative, University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh announced Thursday the formation of a group to consider changing the name of Byrd Stadium.
The Byrd Stadium Naming Work Group will be led by the dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, Bonnie Thornton Dill, and be made up of 18 other members of the faculty, staff and student body. The group will hold its first meeting Monday and is due to provide "a thoughtful and balanced assessment of possible options" to Loh by Dec. 11.
The final decision on whether or not to rename Byrd Stadium, which is named after former university president H.C. "Curley" Byrd, would be made by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents and Chancellor Robert L. Caret after review.
The group of students in favor of changing the stadium's name argue that Byrd was racist and segregationist, and that his beliefs and actions violate the school's policy on naming of facilities.
Maryland's Student Government Association agreed to a resolution in support of the name change in April.
In the spring, senior Colin Byrd, a sociology major from Greenbelt, delivered a petition to Loh's office about the topic, and he delivered another letter to Loh requesting a name change last Friday. Byrd is leading the student coalition, which includes members of the NAACP, the Black Student Union and other campus multicultural organizations, and was hoping for action sooner. In one of his letters to Loh, Byrd asked for the name to be changed by Nov. 4.
"[Loh] said that decisions like this are made slowly," Byrd wrote in an email. "When he announced the move to the Big Ten, he said that the decision was made in two to three weeks. That was a much more consequential move."
Byrd formed a group called the College Park Nine this summer to advocate for a name change. The College Park Nine's name is a reference to the group of students who desegregated a high school in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957.
While the formation of the work group points toward dialogue and evaluation of the naming of Byrd Stadium, Colin Byrd remains skeptical of what the end result will be.
"I am under no illusion this work group is ideal or that it necessarily will make the right decision," Byrd wrote.