The Executive Committee of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors met in special session today to discuss and approve several items as the university prepares to welcome students for the new academic year.

Among the actions taken, the Executive Committee approved two resolutions to remove the names Claudius Lee and Paul Barringer from campus residence halls.

In a subsequent action, the board approved two additional resolution—to name the residence hall located at 570 Washington Street, SW (formerly known as Lee Hall) for the late Janie and William Hoge, a local African American couple who played a critical role in the success and well-being of the first African American students attending Virginia Polytechnic Institute in the 1950s, and to name the campus residence hall located at 240 Kent Street (formerly known as Barringer Hall) for James Leslie Whitehurst, Jr. ’63, the first black student permitted to live on campus in 1961 and the first African American to serve on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

A detailed story on these actions may be found on the Virginia Tech News website.

The Executive Committee also approved a resolution advancing new or revised policies necessary to comply with new Title IX regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education which become effective August 14, 2020. The adoption of a new policy on Title IX sexual harassment and responsible employee reporting (Policy 1026) and the revision to the policy on harassment, discrimination, and sexual assault (Policy 1025) are included in this resolution, as is a revision to the Student Code of Conduct.

On May 6, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued new Title IX regulations that require universities to be in compliance with the new regulations. In response, Virginia Tech President Tim Sands charged a working group, led by the Office for Equity and Accessibility, to make recommendations on changes needed to university policies and procedures to comply with the regulations for responding to reports, conducting investigations and holding hearings found in Policy 1025.

To comply with the regulations, and to complement the adjustments in Policy 1025, the group drafted a new policy dedicated exclusively to responding to reports of sexual harassment under the Title IX regulations, resulting in the creation of Policy1026. The work group also recommended subsequent additional university-wide reviews of policies and procedures to include constituent groups and governance bodies, and that work will continue this fall.

In other actions, the committee approved a resolution to change the name of the school in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences previously approved by the Board of Visitors to the School of Communication, effective immediately. Earlier this year, the board voted to establish a School of Communication and Digital Media. However the school will now be called the School of Communication at the request of the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia.

Provost Cyril Clarke provided board members an update on student enrollment. The university expects to be very close to its goal of 6,675 first-year students and 1,132 transfer students. The Class of 2024 will likely be the most diverse to date.

In addition, Whit Babcock provided board members an update on the impact of the pandemic on intercollegiate athletics and the current status of fall season.

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