In a statement made to the Meredith community on April 6, President Jo Allen, ‘80, and Board of Trustees Chair Yvette Brown, ‘90, announced the renaming of Joyner Hall to Lux Hall as a part of the College’s Anti-Racism Initiative. This decision was voted on by the Board of Trustees in March 2022.
Dr. Allen and Brown said that “the building will be referred to as Lux Hall until the trustees endorse a new name in the months ahead. As a first step, the portrait of [James Yadkin] Joyner that hangs in Lux Hall has been removed to remote storage. The Joyner name will be removed in the coming months.”
The announcement cited J.Y. Joyner’s “advocacy for white supremacy and unequal funding for schools based on race” when discussing reasons why his name will be removed. They also said that “the racist ideas James Yadkin Joyner, who served as a trustee for 55 years, stood for throughout his lifetime, are antithetical to Meredith College’s mission, vision and values.”
Dr. Allen and Brown emphasized that the racist actions of Joyner are not the sole reason his name is being removed from the Hall.
“If the ultimate outcome of a person’s life in the context of the College is positive, the name would not be changed,” they said. “In the case of J.Y. Joyner, the ongoing impact of his role as an enthusiastic advocate for white supremacy and differential funding for Black versus white schools carries generational and lasting harm to BIPOC students.”
Dr. Allen and Brown also clearly stated that “importantly, the trustees are not talking about changing the name of the College.”
Brown acknowledged that “uncovering and confronting [Meredith’s] history is an ongoing process that requires care, respect and a firm commitment to ensure Meredith is an institution where all can thrive.”
In addition to the renaming of Joyner Hall, the College also announced that the Board “endorsed the installation of signage with QR code links on each campus building to provide historical context about all of the individuals for whom the buildings are currently named.” However, the announcement did not contain a timeline for the addition of the QR code links.
The announcement also stated that “the Board will continue its work and provide further updates, when available, as part of Meredith’s Anti-Racism initiative.”
Additional information regarding the name change can be found using the FAQ page provided by the Board of Trustees.
By Freya Dahlgren, Opinion Editor