UMD to change stadium name because namesake was racist
- The Board of Regents at the University of Maryland approved changing the name of its football stadium from “Byrd Stadium” to “Maryland Stadium” Friday morning.
The Board of Regents at the University of Maryland approved changing the name of its football stadium from “Byrd Stadium” to “Maryland Stadium” Friday morning. The stadium was named after former university president Harry Clifton Byrd who served as president from 1918 to 1935.
Earlier this year, a group of students at the University of Maryland wrote a petition demanding the name of the stadium be changed because Byrd’s legacy is not consistent with the goals of the university community. Those behind the petition say Byrd was a racist and a segregationist.
“University of Maryland prides itself on diversity and acceptance the school should not have a major campus landmark named after a president that did not believe in that diversity [sic],” the petition stated.
The petition failed to reach its goal of 50 signatures but a committee at the University of Maryland tasked with discussing a possible name change was founded anyway.
According to an email sent after the petition was started and obtained by Campus Reform, current University of Maryland President Wallace Loh told all students, faculty, and staff that the university was considering changing the name to “Maryland Stadium.”
Loh said the stadium is the university’s “front porch” and should reflect the school’s current values of diversity and inclusion.
On Friday, the Board of Regents announced that the name of the stadium will be officially changed to “Maryland Stadium.”
“Byrd Stadium no more. Board of Regents approves name change to Maryland Stadium,” 1430 WNAV tweeted.
“May Byrd and the memory of his name rot in the hells,” one supporter tweeted.
Not everyone agreed with the name change, though, and some students did not think it was an important issue.
“I don’t think the Byrd stadium renaming is really a priority,” student David Foama tweeted.
“I hate when people get offended over every non-issue such as a stadium named after an iconic figure in Maryland history,” Maryland alum Kirsten Sookal posted on Facebook. “I say this as a person of color and alum of the University of Maryland.”
According to WTOP, the Board of Regents voted 12 to 5 to rename the stadium after two hours of debate.
Loh said he hopes to put an exhibit in the school’s library explaining the name-change and Byrd’s complex history.