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CSU students see leadership change as opportunity to change name of Marshall College of Law

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 8:58 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland State University will soon go through a change of leadership as Dr. Laura Bloomberg will take over as president for the departing Harlan Sands, and some students at the Marshall College of Law see that as a catalyst for change.

Student leaders of the group, Students against Marshall, who want the name of the law school changed due to its namesake, John Marshall, being a slave owner, said they believe they have an ally in Bloomberg, formerly the University’s Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Emily Forsee is a student leader in the group pushing for a name change and said they have met multiple times with Bloomberg, in her former role, and believe she will be receptive to a name change.

“She has expressed to us in meetings with Students against Marshall that she cares very much about issues of racial equity and that she cares very much about the issue of the name change,” Forsee said.

The University released this statement to 19 News regarding a meeting held Thursday, that among other issues, considered the potential of a name change for Marshall:

“Cleveland State University’s process for evaluating the name of our Cleveland-Marshall College of Law has not changed. This is a consequential decision. We continue to work through an inclusive process that considers the views of the members of our law school, our broader university community, and other stakeholders. Today’s meeting with an ad-hoc committee of community stakeholders was previously scheduled and a part of that process.”

At its May 17 meeting, the CSU Board of Trustees will be asked to consider a university-wide policy for “space, unity and entity naming.”

The policy sets rules and procedures for how a space, unit, and entity may be named at the university, as well as how a name may be changed or removed.

This foundational policy will provide guidance and structure for evaluating names, now and in the future.

Not everyone is in favor of a name change at Marshall, and that includes Marshall grad Henry Hilow, who transitioned from a career in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office to one as a defense attorney.

Hilow said Marshall’s importance as the architect of our judicial system as a separate but equal part of our government should never be forgotten.

“If we did not have an independent judiciary we would be no different than countries that are run by totalitarian dictators, we stand for our judiciary and separate but equal and that’s what Marshall stood for,” Hilow said, “Things have to be looked at in the context of history, life looks different in the rearview mirror, and I think it is important to keep our perspective on what’s going on.”

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