A group of University of Maryland, College Park students has launched a campaign to change the name of the school's football stadium, arguing it is named after a man with racist and segregationist beliefs.
Byrd Stadium's namesake is former university President H.C. "Curley" Byrd. He served as the university's president for nearly two decades until 1954 and also ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor. Byrd supported "separate but equal" racial segregation.
Among those leading the efforts for the stadium name change is a College Park student who bears the same name — Colin Byrd, 22, of Greenbelt. The senior, who is African-American, has no relation to Curley Byrd.
"It's very disappointing at this day and age that the university does not see fit to remove an egregious symbol and ugly history of racial segregation in the U.S.," he said.
On Wednesday night, the school's Student Government Association agreed to a resolution in support of a name change.
A school spokesman said the names on all campus buildings represent the university's long history and culture. Still, he said, the matter has been sent to the facilities naming committee for further review.
The ultimate authority to rename school buildings rests with the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, system Chancellor William E. "Brit" Kirwan said in a statement.
"A naming, or renaming, proposal emanates from one of our campuses and is sent to me as chancellor by the institution's president," Kirwan said. "From my office, it would go to the board for its consideration with my recommendation."
Kirwan said such a renaming occurred recently at Maryland, when Holzapfel Hall was razed except for its facade on one side to make room for a new facility, the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center.
Byrd said he hoped to get the facilities naming committee, university President Wallace D. Loh and the Board of Regents "to realize that Curley Byrd's status as the namesake of the football stadium is not only offensive to black students on campus, it's offensive to students of all colors and creeds."
"It is a violation of the Board of Regents' own bylaws, which clearly state that no facility should be named after any individual whose integrity and public image conflicts with the purpose and mission of the University System of Maryland or its member institutions," he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.