A unanimous Board vote today formally designates UC’s largest college as the College of Arts and Sciences (a popularly used name of the college). This formal name recognition applies to the college as an academic entity.
There have been several designations over the decades to both formally and informally refer to the University of Cincinnati’s largest college.
Over the past 140 years or so, the college has been formally and informally known as the Academic Department, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.
However, until now, according to available historical records, none of these names or designations had ever been the result of formal action by the Board of Trustees. That changed today, as the Board voted to name the academic unit the College of Arts and Sciences.
This vote came because in recent decades, the college – as an academic unit – had been referred to as the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences as the result of seeming happenstance and marketing-related decisions. However, throughout that time period, students and alumni raised concerns about connecting the surname to the college’s mission and purpose.
These culminated in the 2017-19 time period when representative faculty and student bodies within the college as well as undergraduate and graduate student governments advocated for and unanimously passed resolutions to discontinue use of the surname as attached to the college as an academic entity.
These concerns stemmed from Charles McMicken’s slave owning and trading, as well as his exclusionary bequest in his Last Will and Testament “establishing and maintaining…two Colleges for the education of white Boys and Girls.” It was this bequest (consisting of real estate) that led to the founding in 1870 of the institution we today know as UC, though it must be noted that the McMicken will neither requested nor required that his name be formally associated with the university in any way.
Earlier this year, UC President Neville Pinto formed a university-level working group to examine the life and legacy of Charles McMicken and the use of his name in affiliation with the university..