Cornell University will rename a collection of gardens, formerly known as “Cornell Plantations,” after a group of students complained about the name’s association with slavery.
The 14-garden collection comprising 4,000 acres in upstate New York will now be called “Cornell Botanic Gardens,” the Ivy League university said in an announcement last week.
Christopher Dunn, director of the gardens, said the old name was a misnomer, as the gardens are not used for agricultural production and consist of a variety of plants.
“A botanic garden is all about showcasing the rich diversity of the plant kingdom,” Mr. Dunn said in the university’s announcement. “How can you have a plantation that is a botanic garden? It’s a non sequitur.”
Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life, said the name change also highlights Cornell’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“Renaming Cornell Plantations not only respects the richness of this great natural and scientific resource, it shows our full respect for the diverse and highly valued community of students and scholars this university is fortunate enough to serve,” Mr. Lombardi said in a statement.
Black Students United issued a series of demands to the Cornell administration last year, calling for several commitments to increased diversity at the Ithaca, New York, campus.
“We want the administration to change the name of the Cornell Plantations as soon as possible,” the students demanded.