The Board of Trustees will vote on approving the renaming of the Cornell Plantations on Friday.

Michaela Brew / Sun Senior Editor

The Board of Trustees will vote on approving the renaming of the Cornell Plantations on Friday.

October 27, 2016

Board of Trustees Committees Voice Support for Plantations Rename

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Correction appended

The Cornell Board of Trustees committees on student life and academic affairs reached a general consensus Thursday that the Cornell Plantations should be renamed the Cornell Botanic Gardens. The board will conduct an official vote on the issue Friday.

Kathryn Boor, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, explained that the board hired a consultant to investigate whether the name Cornell Plantations is appropriate. Throughout this evaluation, the board contacted 2,700 stakeholders and found “strong support for the name to change,” Boor said.

A change to the plantations’ name was one in a list of demands that Black Students United delivered to President Elizabeth Garrett last November, citing the word’s ties to slavery.

Boor acknowledged issues with the current name, saying that it implies “political multiculture” and is a “throwback to a painful time in U.S. history.”

The initiative has received unanimous support from Cornell constituencies, including the Faculty Senate, Student Assembly and Employee Assembly.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Board of Trustees discussed the renaming of the plantations on Thursday. In fact, the board’s committees on student life and academic affairs held the discussion.

  • Hotelie Alum

    Next up: making Libe Slope gender-neutral; changing the names of the Arts, Ag and Engineering quads because the current names cause those students not affiliated with the course of study in those areas of campus to feel sad; Closing Hoy Field and the golf course because activities there involve striking an object over and over–surely a sign of aggression; asking the Hot Truck to change its name because of the implicit judgmental sexism brought forth by the use of the word ‘hot’; and removing directional references to areas of campus because the words north, south, east and west invoke classism.

    • SupportBotanic

      Why are you so mad about this? How does it even affect you?

      • Hotelie Alum

        Definition: the use of irony to mock or convey contempt

        • SupportBotanic

          Sure you can be sarcastic, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re mad. Notice the word contempt in your definition – that’s being mad. So I ask my question again: Why are you so mad about this, and how does it affect you?

  • Emaar

    While I’m very skeptical of things like “safe spaces” I do support this name change. Even as a student in the ’80’s I thought “Plantations” was a poor name choice given the historical connotation

  • Alum86

    The interest in changing Cornell Plantations’ name began more than 5 five years ago, and the market research study was conducted before the Black Students United proposal. So whilst the BSU request, and reasoning, played a role in the name change, it certainly was not the major catalyst. Sadly, the Cornell Daily Sun chooses to focus on what it deems the most controversial aspects of the name change, rather than the totality of the process.

    For years, Cornell Plantations has worked on ways to convey the enormous scope and depth of its offerings — 3400 acres, cultivated gardens, curated collections, managing the gorges, lectures, community education, research environment for students and faculty, over 60 employees, and the Arboreteum. Cornell Botanic Gardens does a better job of representing this extraordinary and valuable aspect, and asset, of Cornell.